Race Report

Monument Valley 50K: Race Report

….and My Story Runs On….

Wow! Where to even begin?  I know I have to keep this succinct but very hard to do, especially for those of you that want to get a detailed report about the race and what to expect if you plan on doing it. Continue Reading →

50 Miles of Gratitude: (7) My Epic Finish Line

….and My Story Runs On….

I normally don’t like to post videos that are over a few minutes but I was doing a speech project for my Toastmasters club so I figured I’d make it into a blog post too.  Toastmasters is one of my other passions.  I’m already a Distinguished Toastmaster and I’m working on my 2nd one now.  This speech was from the Advanced Manual, The Entertaining Speaker and it was Project #4 which is The Dramatic Talk (scroll to project 4 if you click on link). My objectives for the speech were:

Project 4 – A Dramatic Talk
Dramatic stories are another way to entertain an audience. Through drama you create images in listeners’ minds, which enhance and add interest to your message. Vocal variety is critical in a dramatic talk. Vary the volume, pitch and rate of your words. Also convey drama through your body language and facial expressions. Make sure your voice and body language reinforce, not dominate, your verbal message.


  • Develop an entertaining dramatic talk about an experience or incident
  • Include vivid imagery, characters and dialogue
  • Deliver the talk in an entertaining manner

Time: five to seven minutes (I did 6-8 min)

You may have to turn up the volume as I didn’t have a microphone. The “script” is below if you want to read it instead.

I realized when I was running this morning that today is the 20th of March and it’s been 30 days since my race!  I’m obviously not writing a blog a day but my goal is still 50 blog posts for the 50 miles.

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

“Script of Speech”

Introduction: Lisa Pozzoni is delivering a speech from the Advanced Manual: The Entertaining Speaker. This is Project 4: A Dramatic Talk. Her objectives are to develop an entertaining dramatic talk about a personal experience.  She is to include vivid imagery, characters and dialogue while delivering the talk in an entertaining manner.

Lisa has been a Toastmaster since 2004. She has already achieved the highest level of Toastmasters: Distinguished Toastmaster and is working on her second one.

Lisa is a running coach, the owner of The Running University and the only ChiRunning Instructor in Arizona.  Her passion is to help people cross finish lines they never thought possible.

Please help me welcome, Lisa Pozzoni, The Sands Of Time

Speech: It’s 4:30 am on Saturday, February 20th 2016.  I’m in a hotel room in Page, AZ.  I wake up super excited! It’s the day after my 45th birthday and a day I’ve been waiting for 5 months!

I’m sitting in the “library”, doing what most of us do: phone in hand, checking facebook and emails.  I know my friend Elaine is also up at this point so I send her this text (SLIDE ).

An hour and half later, at 6am, we find ourselves at the start line with 200+ other crazy ultra marathon runners getting ready to run 50 miles. This is Elaine’s 2nd 50 miler and my first!

The air horn goes off and we have 15 hours to complete our mission.  Plenty of time! I just did half that distance a few weeks before in 5.5 hours. (SLIDE) But we also have cutoffs to meet at specific aid stations.  If we don’t meet them, we are disqualified.  And then add about 40 miles of sand to run through but we trained for that …we got this!

Our first challenge was to get to the first aid station cutoff.  We had 3 hours and 15 minutes to get through 11.5 miles of sand.  Not only was there sand though, (SLIDE) we had the privilege of running through Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon, one of the most photographed canyons in the world!  We stayed focused while taking in the amazing scenery and kept running…BAM first cutoff made with 30 minutes to spare!

Our next challenge was to be at the 28.5 mile aid station by 2:40.  We knew we would have no problem….well, until we got to the hardest part of the run. (SLIDE ) You’d think the sand was the issue (not that it wasn’t) but all of the sudden we are on at Horseshoe Bend and climbing up and down cliffs. I was literally channeling my inner Spider Woman and was on all fours a lot!  At some points we are about 5-6 feet away from the huge canyon drop off (SLIDE) (I’m terrified of heights).  We kept waiting to see the road as we knew that would be the aid station but it felt like a scene from Groundhog day.  Up and over a cliff and the same exact scenery.  We were climbing and not running which slowed us down.  We finally could see the road but we were cutting it SO close! We got to that aid station at 2:29 BAM (high five), next cutoff made with 11 minutes to spare! We quickly grabbed some stuff and moved on.

Oh no! Here we go again as we approach Waterhole Canyon.  We arrive to the trail with a small danger sign right before it….takes a sharp right turn, then straight down….  I slowly creeped down on my butt the whole time until I reached the bottom. We went through a beautiful canyon and approached several ladders that we knew would be there.  OK getting up them but thankfully had some help getting us up and over.  We lost some GPS signal and my TomTom died.  (SLIDE ) We had no idea how far we were from the next aid station but we were cutting it really  close again. …we kept pushing each other until we could see the aid station from far away.

We got to the next cutoff at 4:04pm BAM (high five), next cutoff made with with 6 minutes to spare .  I gave my hydration pack to my boyfriend to fill it, got my snacks, and started heading out when I realized I forgot something. I forgot to give my honey a kiss!  I run back while Elaine is yelling at me, “the sweeper is going to be leaving any minute…let’s go!”  (SLIDE) We started walking real fast up the next sandy hill and kept looking behind us to make sure we stayed in front of the sweeper.  We are making the calculations …OK we have to do 5 miles in an hour and 40 minutes. We got this! More sand…we realized we hadn’t seen trail markers in awhile and lo and behold, we passed a turn. We had to back track a bit …and there was the sweeper again…I was literally 50 feet in front of her.

We get to mile 38.5 at 5:40 BAM (high five), next cutoff made with 10 minutes to spare. This was the last cutoff outside of the 15 hours to be done (9pm).  We had already agreed that Elaine could go at this point as I’m slower than her and I had a few friends who were going to pace me the rest of the way.  We were finally done with the sand and I could get a good running groove going.  My pacers were fresh and helped me stay focused.

I asked my friend Lori several times how were doing on time. We were OK but still cutting it close. We get to the very last aid station which is .75 miles away from the finish.  The guy very matter of fact says you have 10 minutes until 9pm.  No words of encouragement…just the facts.

I scoot down another hill on my butt…it’s dark now and we both have our head lights. Off the hill and there is more sand! WTH?!  I start swearing when from far away, I can hear my friend Susan yelling “come on.  You have 2 minutes.”  I’m seriously like, really?  I’ve been galavanting around the desert for the last 15 hours, cutting is so close several times, I was like, whatever…if I make it, I make it! She keeps screaming at us to hurry. I can’t see the finish line as I finish straight up a hill …now they are both screaming at me telling me to hurry…I turn the corner, I can hear the race director on the microphone, saying my name and something about my birthday. I can’t believe I’m sprinting at mile 49!  I look up at the clock right before I cross the finish line…

I cross the finish line at 14:59:10….….(SLIDE)

That was my most epic finish at any race! (SLIDE 10) Yep I was the last official person to cross the finish line!  In the racing world we call that .. DFL …as a running coach, I say:

Dead F Last is better than Did Not Finish, which trumps Did Not Start.

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: (1) ChiRunning

….and My Story Runs On….

I think one of the reasons I want to write a post a day for 50 days is because I want to keep reliving this amazing, life changing experience I had! I promised these to be short and sweet.  Please note that these are not necessarily in any order although ChiRunning is in the top 5 reasons why I had a successful race.  How do I measure my success?  Well, not by speed, obviously! I measure success based on how I felt during training, the race and after.  Although there are several other factors that contributed to my success, ChiRunning is a HUGE part of it.

It was just last year that I suffered from plantar fasciitis and had to take several months off from running due to overuse and not listening to my body.

I would never even consider doing this race if it weren’t for ChiRunning.  If you are a ChiRunner already, you know what I’m talking about. If not, I highly suggest you look into it.

First and foremost, it’s about proper running form. Technique is the key to success with any sport.  In ChiRunning, you learn to minimize using your legs to run and use your core and gravity to do the work for you. When you use your legs less, you are less prone to injury and you use less energy which in turn can translate to better recovery time, speed and/or distance.

Most people run upright, overstride in front of them and use their legs way too much! This causes most running injuries and is an inefficient way to move forward.

Most people run upright, overstride in front of them and use their legs way too much! This causes most running injuries and is an inefficient way to move forward.

I had no pain while training and I was averaging 50+ miles a week for awhile.  I had no pain during the race at all even though we were in sand most of the time and climbing because I knew how to use my body properly for these (you learn to adapt your technique to the environment you are running in).  Of course, I did quite a bit of ChiWalking as well!  I’ll admit that the day after my body was a bit sore and I was waddling around but on Monday, I barely felt any soreness. I know this is also due to my conditioning but I know my technique had a lot to do with it.

One of the reasons I love ChiRunning, is that the more you focus on it, the better you become at it. I’m a Master Instructor and have been teaching it for 6 years. I focused heavily on my form on my training runs with my ChiSchool audios and ChiRunning app and have felt a huge improvement in my form and efficiency.  I felt great pretty much the whole time during the 50 miler.

ChiRunning is great for beginners wanting to learn to properly the first time around and also elite athletes that are looking at getting better/faster at their sport.  As we say, “Practice Makes Progress” and you never know how a little tweak in your arm swing or your head position can negatively impact your running form….and when you are running 50 miles, you want to be as efficient as possible.

ChiRunning just used this comment in one of their facebook posts and I wanted to share: “ChiRunning and Total Immersion share the belief that you are ALWAYS working on your technique, because you can always improve on some level, whether it’s getting more physically fit, focusing your mind, elevating your mood or learning the art of internal stillness in the midst of activity.”

And for the record, ChiRunning has changed my run but more importantly my life in so many ways! I highly recommend checking it out if you are a runner! Imagine the possibilities!

I personally don't want running to be hard...why would I keep doing it? The easier it is on my mind and body, the more likely I'll keep doing it and be able to do it!

I personally don’t want running to be hard…why would I keep doing it? The easier it is on my mind and body, the more likely I’ll keep doing it and be able to do it!

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!)