Pass Mountain 25K Race or training run?

….and My Story Runs On….

This morning, I did Aravaipa Running’s Pass Mountain 25K (15.5 miles).
I picked it for a few reasons:

  • I needed mileage as I train for my next big race (another blog on that later)
  • I happened to be available on this Saturday to do it
  • Most importantly, this race was my inaugural debut into trail races back on 11/19/2011 and I haven’t done it since.

I remember back in 2011 how scared I was to do it. I was training for my first marathon (Lost Dutchman, it fell on 41st birthday 5 years ago) but I had also just come back from my first ever ChiRunning Instructor weekend.  It was my first time meeting Danny & Katherine Dreyer and the first time I got to meet a bunch of other ChiRunning instructors from all over the world.  Needless to say, I was geeked out on ChiRunning and was excited/nervous about my first trail race. (I honestly can’t remember if I did any training on trails at this point. I want to say I had but I was not as experienced as a runner or coach at this point so not sure!)  I remember how hard it was…but my favorite part was getting to the last 1/2 mile that was on road and seeing my Dad there with his bike as he rode by my side for that last little bit!


My Daddy and I!

Fast forward to this year.  Not sure why I haven’t done this more often since 2011 but this year was my first time back.  The course was slightly different (it was a 26K in 2011) but most of it was the same.

So my first dilemma was:  do I go and preview the course in advance or not?  I decided to do it and here is a quick 2 min video about that experience:

I am so glad that I did it now!

I didn’t preview the first half of the course because I knew it would be easier but grateful that I did the 2nd half as it proved to help me a lot today.  Not so much physically but mentally.  

  • I knew when the hard parts would be so I conserved my energy on those by ChiWalking more. (yes, I have no problem walking in races either!)
  • I knew one of my bigger challenges would be part of the end of the course because the single track trail was very close to the edge and I am afraid of heights.
  • I also knew that the last 2-3 miles were runnable downhill miles and I was ready to crank on those as soon as I could.  Ironically, my fastest mile was my last one!

As a running coach, I hear people get nervous about races all the time.  I remember I used to do this a lot more…I’m sure some of it comes with experience.  For me it was my frame of mind….I never felt I was actually racing when I did this run today.

I was hanging out with my friend Heather, got to chit chat with a few other people along the way, took some pics (see below) and we just took our time knowing we had plenty of it before the cutoff.

The great thing about treating a race like a training run is that there is no pressure. I also love races as training runs because there are other people out on the course (instead of running alone), they are supported so I know I will have aid stations with water and food (best aid stations ever!) and I get a shirt and pint glass! (50 Miles of Gratitude: (9) Training & Aravaipa Running) I didn’t have to pay for this race because I volunteer with Aravaipa quite a bit so I get race credits…so for me, it was a win-win for sure today.

I didn’t go back to see how I performed in 2011 because it was a different course and really didn’t care.

So my lesson for this race was that I was glad that I choose to do it as a training run rather than race it.  This may not always be my choice but I’m really glad that I did because I had a blast …AND I felt amazing at the end which is always one of my goals: to finish strong and feeling good!

Do you race or use them as training runs? Would love to read your comments below!

Gorgeous views on this course!

Gorgeous views on this course!

Heather and I before we started. Running with friends is always a good way to go!

Heather and I before we started. Running with friends is always a good way to go!

Cholla forest!

Cholla forest!

This was one of the steep uphill parts (I took the pic looking down after I got up it)

This was one of the steep uphill parts (I took the pic looking down after I got up 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!)

50 Miles of Gratitude: (9) Training & Aravaipa Running

….and My Story Runs On….

WOW…I am really slow at blogging! My goal is to write 50 blog posts about my first 50 miler and I’m only on #9!

Getting ready for a 50 miler is no joke.  If you want to train properly, you have to invest the time into training.  I used the Ultraladies training plan which was easy to follow.  

The hardest part about training for me is getting the long weekend runs.  Ultra running training is about doing long back to back runs on the weekend so your body and mind know what it’s like to run on tired legs.  Even though we have plenty of long trails, the hard part about training runs is that you either need to have all your food/drink with you for those 20+ miles (downside is that you have to carry more stuff), or you need to do loops and keep your refueling in the car (downside it that it’s easy to stop after a loop when you are back to your car) or you can run races as training runs!

This is where Aravaipa Running comes in the pictures.  The 2 major trail running companies here are Aravaipa and XTERRA (more on them in another blog post).

I love running races because you get a shirt, a pint glass, a nice trail and aid stations so it’s probably my favorite way to get a training run in.  In can get expensive but the great thing is that they offer volunteer opportunities so you can get race credits. It’s a great way to give back to the community and then pay for upcoming races!  The other thing is that depending on how I am feeling on that day, I might choose to push myself a bit harder since I’m in a “race” atmosphere.

I did my first 50K with Aravaipa and two others (Elephant Mountain (1st), Frenzy (2nd) and Crown King (3rd) ).  McDowell Mountain Frenzy was a training run for my 50 mile race. So was the Coldwater Rumble (20 miles).  One of the advantages of doing their races is that you have plenty of time to finish them. They usually have at least a 50K or 50 miler or 100 miler so as long as you finish within that time, you have no problem. Just always check to see what the course cut off is and you are good to go.


I love my pint glass selection and a few are missing..probably the only thing I would like to be different as you can really only fit so many of these in your cupboard 😉

As I write this post, they also have a night trail running series (Insomniac Series) during the summer which are a blast! I remember when I thought trail running was crazy, let alone running at night time on a trail.  But that is now my favorite type of running! I just finished the Adrenaline 26K last weekend (haven’t blogged as I didn’t have time but this is my mini paragraph about it right now.).  This is my favorite! First of all, McDowell mountains have some of my favorite trails.  I also ran this race a few years ago (it was my first night trail run!) and I was hoping to beat my time…which I did!  It was another epic race for me as I shaved 21 minutes off my time from 2014!  Click here for some pics of that run 😉 (I’m training for my 4th 50K in Capitol Reef on 7/9/2016) I’m at 22 seconds in this video they made!

I considered doing an Aravaipa race as my first 50 miler because I love supporting local businesses, especially those that support the running community so well.  The main reason I didn’t is because I wanted to see a new place so that’s why I chose Antelope Canyon (and Elaine practically twisted my arm 😉 and it was over my 45th birthday weekend )

Aravaipa Running also offer a variety of group runs weekly rotating around the Phoenix area.  They are a blast with a lot of fun people!  Check them out!

Click here50 Miles of Gratitude: 50 Posts about my first 50 Miler

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: Crown King Scramble 2016


….and My Story Runs On….

“Come on, you’re already trained” she said.  These words coming from my friend Suzi who years ago swore she would never trail run yet ran me in my last mile of my 1st 50K, just did her first ultra in February (Black Canyon 60K) and now decided to do her 2nd one.  My boyfriend Greg kidded around and said, “Serves you right.  Now you know what it feels like when you’re trying to get people to drink the Kool Aid.”  Soooooo….I signed up for Aravaipa’s Crown King Scramble 50K.

This race is no joke…The Crown King Scramble is a point to point uphill 50 kilometer foot race which starts at 1700 feet elevation and tops out at mile 28.7 at 6520 feet elevation before a final 600 foot descent into the finish.  This is the elevation profile:

Elevation profile!

Elevation profile!

We had an option for the early start at 5am and I’m glad we took it. Not only did it get us out of the heat for the one hour but more importantly, it took the edge off for getting to the first cutoff (disqualification point) at mile 15.3 in 3.5 hours.  (After the cutoff experience at Antelope Canyon, I knew I didn’t want that extra stress again.)

I considered going for a personal record (my best time for a 50k is 8:19 but I knew this race may not be the right one).  And of course, I was “lucky” again and had the same issue as my last 50K (yes, it was that time of the month again!).  I decided I was just going to enjoy the race and our beautiful Arizona landscape.  One of the things I love most about trail running is being outdoors and enjoying nature.

We barely got there in time and got in the start line about 2 minutes before starting. This was the first ultra for Deb and Kerri, Suzi and Krista’s 2nd, and my 4th. Unfortunately Elaine had the flu and wasn’t able to join us (she’s done two 50 milers but hadn’t done a 50K yet).


I normally like to do my body looseners but didn’t have time for that. My plan was to run the first 15 miles as much as possible as I knew I would be hiking a lot of the 2nd half. The weather was perfect. It was still dark so we had headlamps but we got to see an amazing sunrise!  I love that I know quite a few people that are trail/ultra runners. I ran into several friends along the way and got to catch up with them a bit.  I met Deborah and Mark a long time ago when I co-taught a ChiRunning workshop for the Mountain Milers group in Prescott.  As much as I wanted to run this part, I was in no rush and wanted to conserve energy for later. This first half had some rolly polly hills but nothing crazy yet.  The night before, I had reviewed a few of my ChiSchool videos on breathing and steep hills so I started focusing on my form and matching my breathing with my footsteps.

From miles 15-19 we started getting the harder hills.  I was by myself on and off and totally OK with that.  I love to run with people just as much as I love being alone on a trail.  I saw Chris, Amanda and Mechaela.  I couldn’t wait to get to the Mile 19 aid station as I know several of my friends were volunteering there. It’s always great to see your friends at aid stations (it’s always a hard choice to pick in between running a race and volunteering at one!).  I normally stick to my nutrition plan (thanks to Brooke who helped with my 50 miler!) but the theme of their aid station was Fiesta and they had some Tecate so I had to have a small shot glass of beer ;). Surprise: Baby G Growler was there as well!  He is the mascot of Running for Brews Tempe (a social running club that I’m in charge of) Right before this I saw my friend Krista and she wasn’t feeling too well. We got up the aid station and I told her to cool off (it was getting warm) and get some food down.  There is also an elevation change to consider for this race and it’s easy to feel nauseated (I felt it several times).  She felt better and we moved on.  My TomTom died at some point because the storage was full.  This never happened for me and was a good learning lesson.I hadn’t downloaded quite a few of my training runs apparently so it didn’t have enough storage for my run. I was a bit annoyed at first but it was a blessing in disguise.  When you don’t know what mile you are at, it’s quite liberating. We just kept setting our next goal to get to the next aid station.


Cooling off and getting food at the aid station with Krista


Beer shot with a random stranger names Patrick at the aid station


My good friend Lori at the aid station volunteering 😉

I ran into a few more friends.  Marina and Jamie were doing their first ultra. Marina’s been having some calf issues so I gave her a few tips on how to limit using it.  I also met Becki and ran into Lynsey (both of their first ultras too!). We did quite a bit of leap frogging for the remainder of the race.  At some point, I tripped over a rock and had a little tumble. Not a big deal…it’s actually been a long time since I fell trail running so I was due for a fall.  I normally am able to catch my balance before falling but my hydration pack was full and I couldn’t counter balance the fall.  I barely got a few scrapes on my hand and we kept moving. I heard my friend Tommy coming up behind us and he’s a great runner and positive guy.  He ran with us for a bit, shared his big smile and positive energy and then moved on.


Selfie with Tommy and Krista

The Fort Misery Aid station was at mile 22.3.  Apparently they win Best Aid Station contest every year and it was evident by the amount of alcohol they had available.  Again, not something I would normally do but I was feeling good so I had a small Bloody Mary and was proud of myself for resisting the Fireball shot.


Open Bar coming up!


Why not have a Blood Mary?

This was the hardest part of the run. You can see how far we climbed. We passed creeks which were great for dunking our hats and buffs. I walked through them purposely as the cold water felt really good on my feet.  I had an extra pair of socks for back up but never used them.  We also had to deal with ATVs and cars four wheel driving. We knew this would be possible as they can’t close the forest road down.  It was a bit annoying although most people were very nice.The smell of diesel from their vehicles was worst than the dust they were creating.


Creeks! We were looking forward to these!


We came a long way up that hill!

It’s really weird because sometimes you look back and think, wow, what was I thinking/saying for all that time?  Somehow the time goes by chatting with friends and enjoying the scenery.  I have lived in AZ for over half of my life and have never seen this part of our state.

One of my favorite parts was when we started getting into the pines. The tag line for the race is “spines to pines” because we leave the desert landscape at Lake Pleasant and get to Crown King which is at 6700 feet of elevation. I love the smell of pine trees and hearing the wind blow through the needles.  The slight breeze felt good too.  The last aid station was 2 miles away from the top of the hill and we knew we had 2 miles of downhill after that. We were close!  We kidded around about our heavy legs and whether they would remember how to run downhill (free energy!) after doing so much hiking.

Running downhill was no problem and before we knew it, we were in “town” and people were directing us to the finish line.

My official time was 8:45:22.  Considering I had no expectations for this race other than enjoy it and finish it, I’m happy with it!  As a matter of fact, this is a 50K I would consider doing again. I love a challenge and I love hills.  If I do it next year, I may try and PR the course but for now, I’m just happy to have my 4th Ultra under my belt. I will say finishing a 50 miler 6 weeks prior to this definitely boosted my confidence.  I also love to finish a race feeling strong rather than feeling like a truck ran over me.  I finished strong and even though I was a bit sore the next day, I felt great!

I personally would recommend this race. It’s no joke so make sure to train for the hills and elevation (physically, nutritionally and mentally). Read other blog posts to get the scoop but make sure to have a buff to cover your mouth and nose when there is dust being kicked up.  If you are worried about time, do the early start. It was well worth not worrying about the cutoffs and having an hour in the cooler weather.

I would also recommend spending the night. We stayed at one of these cabins (highly recommend them!) and enjoyed Crown King.  We had dinner at the Saloon and breakfast at Prospector Mall (both were yummy).  And last but not least, you cannot leave Crown King without visiting the Cleator Bar and Yacht Club on the way back to I-17.

Not only was this another great race, but another great weekend with good friends!  Love my running friends and the fact that I have more of them getting into trail running but more importantly into ultra running! Thanks to Aravaipa Running for putting on another amazing event!


At the Cleator Bar and Yacht club and “ran” into Jamil, the Aravaipa Running Race Director


Hanging with my friends and the Cleator Bar and Yacht Club 😉


Mascots! Baby G Growler and Baby E-vil from Running for Brews and Vaip Daddi from Araviapa Running chilling at Cleator Bar and Yacht Club 😉




My first finisher jacket! Well deserved I might add!



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: (8) Altras & Meeting the Co-Founder


….and My Story Runs On….

I love meeting people while running. Sometimes people run past you and just say hi or good job and sometimes they will chat with you.  I have personally found that trail and ultra runners tend to be a bit more laid back and more open to a quick chat while in the middle of a race.

So while Elaine and I were in Waterhole Canyon after the 28.5 Aid Station, we found ourselves in a bit of an obstacle course.  There were several ladders that we had to climb to get up and over some of the cliffs.  At one point, we were right behind this guy….and after he got over the ladder, Elaine went right after him…well, it wasn’t the easiest ladder to get up and over so while he was still there, she asked him to help her up.  He was very nice and helped her…and I needed help too.  I remember hearing him say something about “your hat” and “your shoes” but I was concentrating on not falling off the ladder.

One of the ladders we had to go over. (picture courtesy of

One of the ladders we had to go over. (picture courtesy of

We ran a bit together and Elaine asked him, “Why did you mention the hat and shoes? Are you an Altra Ambassador?” (Elaine had her Altra hat and I had my favorite Altra Lone Peaks shoes).  He was pretty humble about it and said…well, I’m actually the co-founder, Jeremy Howlett.  Whoa!  How cool was this?  As a running coach, I’m not one to be tied to a particular brand of shoes but if there is one brand that I tend to use the most, it’s Altras. I was so excited to have a chance to meet him! I told him I was a ChiRunning Instructor (we tend to like Altras because they a natural shoe for your foot: Zero Drop™, wide toe box) and how much I love the shoes.  He said he knew Danny Dreyer (the founder of ChiRunning) and mentioned what a great guy he was and how supportive he is of the shoes as well.

Met Jeremy Howlett, the co-founder of Altra shoes ;)

Met Jeremy Howlett, the co-founder of Altra shoes 😉

We chit chatted with him for awhile and then started running again. We leap frogged with him a few times and then we lost each other.

I met a few other cool people that I’ll be blogging about. I’m very grateful for my Altra shoes and so glad I had the chance to run and chat with Jeremy!

My current Altras: 1 pair of trail shoes, 1 hybrid and 1 road shoe

My current Altras: 1 pair of trail shoes, 1 hybrid and 1 road shoe


My friends love their Altras too!

For any of my local peeps that like to support our local shoe stores, you can find them at I-Run and Sole Sports!

(I am not an Ambassador for Altras….yet…might have to look into it though!)

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

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: (5) My Trail Wife

….and My Story Runs On….

I assume this is a common way to refer to your trail training partners that spend more hours with you on the trail than they do with their actual spouses?  I’ve heard the term golf wife so I’m sure it applies. Continue Reading →

Getting High….and a Meltdown

….and My Story Runs On….

Forget about writing every week for my first 50 Miler…there is no time for that! It seems I can barely get my weekly runs in and my work done these days! But I had to share about my weekend experience….because I was on a serious high on Saturday and a serious low on Sunday….and realized this is probably a normal thing that could happen while training for a 50 Miler or endurance event? Anyone else relate?


Getting High!  Saturday I did Aravaipa’s Coldwater Rumble 20 Mile race. My plan was to do this as a training run (always great to have aid stations and be around other runners for a change!).  I was oddly psyched up for this event.  20 milers don’t seem like a big deal anymore (yikes! did I just say that?!) and I love Estrella Regional Park (my old stomping grounds). My plan was to be as strategic as possible with my energy conservation on this run.  I got a good nights sleep and was excited to see some friends that morning, including Bob, one of my client’s who was doing his first trail race, the 20K.  Not too long ago, I wrote a blog post about my best run ever but I just had another one!  Here are some reasons I had a runner’s high all day on Saturday and why I yelled across the finish line “I feel f%$#king awesome!”:

  • Like Javelina Jangover (my best run to date), I planned.  I knew I had to strategize and manage my energy for the race.  It started out on a hill so I ChiWalked right away rather than wasting energy so soon in the race. I looked behind me and I was 5th to last…everyone was ahead but I didn’t care.

Hill at the start of the race!

  • I didn’t want to race the event but I did want to see how well I could do. I was alone most of the race which was perfectly fine with me.  I focused on my form, took in the breathtaking views, listened to music once in awhile and all around just focused on enjoying myself.  I’ve been listening to a lot of the audios from the ChiSchool on my canal runs so I kept focusing on my form and most importantly, trying to stay as energy efficient as possible.  My race performance is a clear example of how I am deepening my running practice.
  • 2nd Aid Station was at Mile 11 and since I was half way, I knew I could start tapping into that reserved energy I had been conserving all along.
  • I’ll be doing a separate blog post about my nutrition (after my 50 miler) but this has been huge for me.  I’ve been working with Brooke from Fuel to Finish.  Long story short, I’ve been feeling amazing during the week, during my runs and races.  I’ve never been this dialed in to fueling my body for performance and it feels amazing.
  • My last 9 miles were amazing. I still ChiWalked up the hills but I was very focused on changing my technique based on the environment that was coming at me.  I was paying attention to my pace and my goal was to be comparable to Javelina which was a 13:03 for 15 miles (although I was detached enough by listening to my body first)  It was hard to tell who I was passing since there were several distances going on.
  • The last few miles were downhill and used up all that free energy to my advantage.  I was truly feeling f%$#king awesome by the time I crossed the finish line.  I felt strong and was happy knowing that I could do more miles at that point if I had to (pretty soon I will be!)
  • When I checked my GPS, I found out that my fastest mile was my last one!  and when I checked my placement in the event (not normally a big deal for me but was curious), I was 56th out of 80 people.  By conserving my energy and being strategic, I was able to get in front of 24 people.  I posted this quote on my facebook the other day and the highlighted is definitely how I measured my success on this race!

“Some runners judge performance by whether they won or lost. Others define success or failure by how fast they ran, whether or not they matched their time expectations. Still others judge performance by how good they felt running, focusing on the experience. Only you can judge your performance. Avoid letting others sit in judgment of you.”
– Hal Higdon

And now for my Meltdown:

Note to self:  Don’t schedule 3 ChiRunning Alumni classes, a networking event, a 6 mile training run and dinner with your family the day after a big event (and add only getting 5.5 hours of sleep the night before).  I’ve told myself this before and for some reason I thought I could handle it…Well, I did handle it but at the cost of being a nervous wreck and having a complete crying meltdown at my parents house by the end of the day.  I love love teaching Alumni classes as I get to help my runners deepen their ChiRunning practice but they are always very draining for me as I cover a lot of material.  I started by day at 7am.  I haven’t attended Sisterhood of Superwomen in a while but I had a few friends that were going so I wanted to be there with them…then I had scheduled another training run but had to kill some time in between (when all I could think of is why did I schedule this rather than just doing my own thing so I could start/finish at my convenience)…then add on going to my parents house for dinner with the family.  I left the house at 6:30am and was on the go ALL day.  By the time dinner came, I just wanted to break down and cry as I was physically and mentally exhausted….and I DID!  It’s been a long time since I had one of those moments but I just had to let it out.

Once I got it together, I looked back at the scenario and some things were beyond my control while some where within….

Learning lesson:  Don’t underestimate the amount of rest my mind and body need while training for endurance events.  To go from a huge high on Saturday to a meltdown on Sunday seriously messed with me.  Not the first time I learn this lesson but apparently I need to remember this more often when planning my schedule….

So today is a rest day and I’m honoring getting done what I can and realizing that whatever doesn’t get done today, will get done tomorrow….or the next day…


always love seeing friends at a race!


Finish line feeling amazing!


pretty happy with these numbers but more importantly by how good I felt at the end! my pace was a 13:05 which is 2 sec slower than Javelina but 5 more miles sustained at it. I don’t pause my watch at aid stations as I like to see my true time.

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 Mile Training: Week 10 and 11

….and My Story Runs On….

Well, I just got too busy last weekend to blog so I’m doing a quick recap for the last 2 weeks.  I am doing these blogs strictly for my own personal journaling of my 50 Mile training. I wish I would’ve journaled my first marathon and 50K so here I am now 😉

This was the plan for the last few weeks:

Week Of Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Miles
9-Nov 10 0 4 10 8 0 22 10 54
16-Nov 11 0 4 10 8 0 24 10 56

Week 10 was tough as I left for Asheville NC on Wednesday 11/11.  It’s my favorite weekend every 2 years that I get to go and have uptraining with ChiRunning founder Danny Dreyer and get to be with my fellow instructors from around the world.  I learned so much and it always baffles me how much there could be to learn about the art of running. But more about that at a later time….

Week 10 Recap: Because I knew I would not get a long run in while I was traveling, I did the Pemberton Loop as my first run of the week on Tuesday 11/10. This is a 15 mile loop and it’s the first time I do the whole thing during the day. I’ve done it at night time a few times for the Javelina Jangover race with Aravaipa Running. I went with my friend Vicki and we took our time so I could get more time on my feet (4 hours).  I traveled on Wednesday. On Thursday, I spent most of the day at a track and a hill doing some advanced work with Danny and fellow ChiRunning instructors. We were working on improving performance without increasing perceived rate of exertion.  During our lunch break, I ran 2 miles effortlessly on the track and got at least 5 in that day (I was supposed to run in the morning with the group but was too exhausted so I chose to listen to my body and sleep in).  On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I did a few miles each day on the grounds of the Crowne Plaza in NC with fellow instructors.  On Monday, several of us had the chance to do a 3 mile trail run with Danny.  My goal for the week was 54 miles but I only got in 24. I decided to not let that worry me at all.

Week 11 recap:  I needed some serious rest after my trip.  I was exhausted physically and mentally!  On Wednesday I was excited to get out.  I used to be solely a social runner but I’ve learned to really appreciate solo running.  When I am alone, I really focus on my form and become as mindful as possible to what my body is doing.  I was going to do 6 miles around the hood but decided to do 7 because I was feeling so good.…and I used my ChiRunning app the entire time to focus on cadence, breathing (I focused on nose breathing almost the entire time) and my other form focuses. On Thursday I got 3 miles in with my track group.  I had workshop scheduled this weekend so I had couldn’t run on Saturday. I decided to do 18 miles on Friday at South Mountain.  I broke up the run as follows:  1st 5 miles focusing on form, 2nd 5 miles I put music on speaker phone and the last 8 miles were with my friend Vicki.  It was almost 5 hours total with stops in between which is good time on my feet.  On Saturday, I wanted to get 10 miles in the afternoon after my workshop. Vicki, Denise and Lori joined me for 4 on trail and then Lori and I finished the rest on the canal.  On Sunday, I had a private lesson so I was able to get 3 more miles in.  My goal for the week was 56 miles and I did 45.  Good back to backs this weekend and feeling pretty good!  Did leg drains daily and foam rolled, hit the hot tub a few times this week and got a free massage at the Girls On The Run event.

I’m excited about a taper week coming up! In a few weeks, I’ll be doing my 2nd 50K (McDowell Mountain Frenzy) which will be a training run. I like to use races as training runs when the mileage fits.  I didn’t have to pay because I had volunteer credits but at least I get a pint glass and aid (food/drink) on a long run which is easier than going back to my car to refuel.  Plus I get to see my friends and have more company along the way!

So here is how the weeks finished:

Week Of Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Miles
9-Nov 10 0 4 10 8 0 22 10 54
0 15.3 0 5 2.3 2.1 2 26.7
16-Nov 11 0 4 10 8 0 24 10 56
3.1 0 7 3.1 18.5 10 3 44.7

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!)

Week #9 Recap 50K/50Mile Training

….and My Story Runs On….

These next few weeks are going to be tough as I have stuff going on that could interfere with my training.  Here was my plan for this week:

Week Of Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Miles
2-Nov 9 0 4 8 8 0 22 10 52

I had to alter my plan because Ragnar Trails Relay  was this weekend and I needed to try and get ahead of the training schedule earlier in the week.

Here is how it went:

Monday:  This is normally a rest day but I needed to get ahead of the schedule.  I ran on the road around my neighborhood. I did a 4.5 mile run first, had to run some errands, and then went back out an hour or so later to get another 5 miles in. These were some good tempo runs for me. I prefer trail all the way but road miles are easier to fit in some times and I can work a bit more on tempo.

Tuesday:  I have my regular trail run/hike scheduled with my friend Vicki. I get at least 2 miles of sand in which is not enough but will get there. We did 6.5 miles at South Mountain (saw a gorgeous coyote from afar).  Then I did 3 more miles at Running for Brews Tempe with my sister.

Wednesday:  I was not very motivated this morning to get out because it was colder than normal but I knew I had to get my run in.  As soon as I walked outside, I noticed there was no sun and a few big black clouds. It had rained the night before and I’ll admit to being a spoiled AZ runner because of the gorgeous weather we have. Not really crazy about running in any other conditions.  I started my run reluctantly and was immediately cheered up by a some beautiful rainbow sightings.  I love rainbows and they have a spiritual meaning to me and those pictures don’t do them justice.  Then it started drizzling….I though of cutting the run short and then figured I could stop by my parents house if it got any worst.  It didn’t so I ran with a light drizzle and got my 5 miles in.  When I got home I decided I wanted to hit the hot tub (never done this at 9am in the morning but it was a cool morning and it just sounded good).

Thursday:  I decided to be my rest day to prepare for Ragnar weekend (I knew I wouldn’t get much sleep either so wanted to be fully rested).  I still managed to get 21,421 steps in between some very light running at track and walking back and forth as we set up our camp at McDowell Mountain in preparation for the weekend.

Friday:  Our Ragnar Team, Dust Bunnies, started at 9:40 am.  I did my first 4 mile run and then did my 2nd run in the evening.  I love McDowell Mountain and enjoyed some gorgeous views on my first run.  My first night run was a bit of a bummer because the green loop was a fast, easy one but unfortunately both my headlamp and back up light were on low battery (lesson learned!).  I wanted to be careful so it slowed me down. I haven’t seen my results from the race yet and haven’t uploaded my Tom Tom data either.  I remember thinking trail running and night running was absolutely crazy and now it’s my favorite kind of running. Nothing like being in the middle of the desert at night time…it keeps you very present in the moment. I was happy that my next one would be at night as well.

Saturday:  As a matter of fact, one of my teammates got sick and I covered her 6.6 mile loop a few hours after finishing mine.  I was happy to do it even though I was on about 3 hours of sleep. I know I needed the miles anyway.  Two beautiful runs!  My Tom Tom battery died on the 2nd run but I was very lucky to watch the moon rise (along with the alignment of the planets and several shooting stars from the Taurid Meteor shower!) and I saw the sun rise on the 2nd run. Doesn’t get any better than that!

Sunday: Purely a rest day…literally was in bed all day…unfortunately once I finished with my Ragnar runs on Saturday, I decided to start drinking.  Between doing 4 runs totaling 22 miles in 20 hours on 3 hours of sleep, it caught up to me…needless to say, I’ll be making better decisions next time.  I planned it as a rest day but more rest than I was expecting.  Maybe my body needed it. Happy to say that I was not sore at all though!  I attribute this to my ChiRunning form as well as my conditioning.

My training for the week finished like this:

Week Of Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Miles
2-Nov 9 9.5 9.5 5 0 9 13.2 0 46.2

I was 6 miles short but feel OK with it because I know I got a lot more steps walking around at Ragnar for 2.5 days.  I know the time on my feet is part of it so I’m OK not getting the exact mileage in.

AHA moments:

  • Felt good about my planning this week by getting more miles in ahead of time.
  • I love practicing my ChiWalking, especially my hill technique. Did quite a bit of this at Ragnar as several of the loops had some hills.  Ultimately goal on every run is to be as energy efficient as possible and that helps me strategize my runs.
  • Loving the variety of runs I’m getting from road miles, to miles with friends and events like Ragnar.  My running is mainly social and glad I have a big group of crazy friends who join me on my crazy adventures 😉
  • Just realized this was the most miles yet so far in my training by 6 miles and grateful that I have no pain or soreness at all!

Fundraising update:

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

Previous blogs posts in this series:

I’m leaving for Asheville, NC on Wednesday. So excited as I’ll be attending a Performance Workshop to learn to be more efficient (learning how to get faster and more efficient with less effort!). I’ll also get to see my ChiFamily…being the only Instructor in AZ, this is one of my favorite weekends we have every 2 years so I get a chance to see my peers, run together and share ideas.

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 #8 Recap 50K/50Mile Training

….and My Story Runs On….

Trying not to beat myself up as it’s Tuesday morning and I swore last week that I would keep a draft and update this daily as so much happens I forget by the time the weekly recap comes up! (thankful for my Tom Tom app so I can go back and look at the maps of my runs which helps jog my memory!).  I also was short 10 miles last week so I’m deciding not to beat myself up about that either…..

Last week was a Cycle Down week which means it was a week where the mileage was lower to help the body rest and recover.  I decided I was going to try and get more miles in during the week as I knew the weekend was going to be tough.  Here was the plan:

Week Of Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Miles
26-Oct 8 CD 0 4 8 6 0 10 8 36

And here is how it went:

  • Monday: Rest day.  Today was a rough day…the last few Mondays have been…I think part of it is due to the adrenaline and all the running from the weekend that when Monday comes, I feel like I’m missing on something and it’s hard to start my day without a run.  There were other factors going on this Monday…it was so bad that I actually posted on my Facebook page about and was overwhelmed by all the love and responses I received from my friends!
  • Tuesday:  I normally have a standing running date with my friend Vicki but had to change my plan to help out my sister in the morning.  I didn’t wake up early enough to run before so I ended up running back and forth from my chiropractor’s office which is about 1.5 mile away from my house.  Then I ran another 3 miles at Running for Brews that night with my friend Jan who is in town from Ireland.  As much as I don’t like road running much anymore, it is much easier after doing longer runs on the trail. I can focus more on form and cadence.
  • Wednesday:  6 mile trail run/hike with my friend Vicki at South Mountain. There is a sandy wash so I can get a few miles of sand training (I need so much more though!).  On this day we ended up going a little further and found a trail connector and ended up in a new place which is always fun to explore.
  • Thursday: Had to cancel track in the morning due to rain.  Thursdays are a busy day for me so I wasn’t able to get back out because it was also running on and off.  I ended up getting to PSCU early (where I teach boot camps) and was able to get one mile done on the treadmill.  Not my favorite…I guess one mile is better than zero miles. Today I also started tracking my food for my nutritionist, Brooke from Fuel to the Finish, who is going to help me get prepared for race day by fueling my body properly.  My homework was to do this for 3 days.
  • Friday:  In retrospect, it was good that I rested on Thursday.  I volunteered to mark the Javelina Jundred Endurance Run course this day which is the 15 mile Pemberton trail at McDowell Mountain.  I knew it would take longer than usual due to the stop and go of marking the bushes. Part of this journey for me is running with different people and making new friends.  Today I had the opportunity to run with Erica and Tessa from the Dirt Bag Running group.  This is also one of my all time favorite trails.  Ironically I realized that I had done this full trail twice and both times it was night time so this was my first time doing it during the day.  I blogged about my last experience as it was one of my best night runs ever.  It was a great morning and I was on my feet for 4 hours and 26 minutes which is good time on my feet.
  • Saturday:  My plan was to get out and do at least 5 more miles at some point this weekend. This morning my legs were pretty tired from the day before and I had quite a few things to do.  I guess I got more good time on my feet as we volunteered to work the main aid station of the Javelina Jundred from 11pm-7am.  It was a long night but it was fun to help out these amazing runners who were either doing 100K or 100 miles. I know 100 miles is something I want to do at least once but not making any plans now until I finish the 50 miler.  I thought this might be the course I would do since it’s an AZ race and run by our local Aravaipa Running group.  Now I’m not sure that I could run around a loop 6-7 times. We’ll see….
  • Sunday:  Was able to get 4 hours of sleep but a run was not happening on this day either. I was too tired from the weekend..

My training for the week finished like this:

Week Of Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Miles
26-Oct 8 CD 0 4 8 6 0 10 8 36
 Actual 0 6.14 6 1 14 0 0 27.14

AHA moments:

  • Planning as much as I can but I don’t want to beat myself up if I don’t get my mileage in.  I tried hard not to do this since I was 10 short on a cycle down week.
  • Nervous about the next few weeks.  Ragnar Trail is coming up and then I’ll be in Asheville NC for 5 days for a ChiRunning Instructor weekend. This is one of my favorite weeks that happens every 2 years and even though we run daily, I know I won’t be able to get all my mileage in.  I’m going to have to get creative and get as much as I can done.
  • This training is like a part time job.  I had some struggles this week with my time management and realize I need to re-prioritize some things as this training is taking over my weekly schedule.
  • Volunteering to mark or sweep a race course is a great way to get mileage and time on my feet….and I got some race credits for it too!
  • ChiRunning:  Nothing earth shattering this week but love how much easier the road feels after doing more trail running.  I continue to focus on my nose breathing and trying to stay as relaxed as possible. I’ve also been focusing on my ChiWalking as I know I won’t be running the full 50K or the 50 miler.  The goal is always to be as energy efficient as possible!

Fundraising update:

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

Previous blogs posts in this series:

This process is a bit time consuming but I really want a record to remember how training for my 1st 50 miler went so I will keep on with this journaling process…

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

My New Favorite Running App

….and My Story Runs On….

(I started writing this while I was on vacation in the midwest.  Just got back last night)

As you may know, I’ve been gallivanting around the midwest for the last week and a half.  I have found the scenery here so different and refreshing from the AZ desert.  Continue Reading →