Week #1 of 100 Mile Training & Comparing Ultras to Childbirth?


It is a daunting task for sure, figuring out how to get myself to the start line healthy, trained, and capable of running 100 miles.   Let’s be honest, 100 miles is a whole different kind of beast.  Anything can happen.  I know that I cannot possibly prepare for every scenario I will be faced with during a race of this distance.   At some point all the physical training I’m going to do leading up to the race is only going to get me so far.  Then I’m just going to have to keep moving forward and make sure my mental game is strong!  “Relentless forward motion,” is my favorite mantra and I’m sure I’ll think of a lot more before December.

I’ve heard others describe the pain cave of a 100 mile race as equal to or greater than the pain of child birth.  Well, if that’s the case, I did my pain management training 13 and 16 years ago!  hahaha  Two natural childbirths, no meds whatsoever…only a birthing ball, my husband’s poor hand to crush, and a nail on the wall as a focal point to manage the pain.  I figure if I can push an almost 9 pound baby out of my lady parts, then I can run 100 miles, right?  They say you forget the pain once they put the baby in your arms and you look into their sweet little faces, but I still remember staring at that nail on the wall, squeezing my husband’s hand, and feeling like I was being crushed by a Mac truck from the inside out every 30 seconds.  And that was after having puked all over the hospital floor!  Hell, I pushed for 3 hours straight with my firstborn, after about 5 hours of labor and 2 days of back labor and not being able to hold down any food.  That being said, both times were the most rewarding and amazing experiences of my entire life.  I cannot even describe how amazing it felt each time to know that my boys are here because of the pain I endured.

We can laugh about the parallels between child birth and running 100 miles, but I guarantee you that those are the two main experiences I’m going to be drawing on when times get really tough during the race.  And they will, that’s a given.  It will be one of the hardest things I will do willingly in my life, but crossing that finish line will be epic.  The best part is that there will be no diaper changing in the months to follow.  I’ll take a nice shiny belt buckle instead.  Hahahaha!

Actually the best part is going to be sharing this experience with Jen.  She is tough as nails and destined to be my trail sister.   We’re in this together!

 

Awesome Training Advice

I came across this blog post today and I think it has some great tips for anyone getting ready to run 100 miles.  I know I will be rereading this a lot over the next 5 months!

A Century or Bust

 

Training Week #1

I’ll just call last week the first week of training because I figure anything I do from here on out will be preparing me for this race.  I’ve just been trying to establish a regular running cycle lately and to work my long run back up.  I’m going to scale the miles back a little bit this week and then increase again over weeks 3 and 4.  That worked well during my last training cycle.

Monday:  rest

Tuesday:  8 trail miles

Wednesday:  travel day to Nashville for a teaching conference

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Pretty epic view from 34,000 ft though!
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Best barbecue I have ever had.  If you are ever in Nashville, you have to eat here.  Guy Fieri  featured this place on DDD for a reason!  

Thursday:  2 miles on hotel treadmill (my only option and I did not enjoy one second of this).  30 minute workout with weights, leg press, rowing machine, and kettle bells

Friday:  travel day home/ rest

Saturday:  8 super easy paced trail miles (Went exploring to find the awesome overlook I came across last spring when I almost got lost during a run.  Found it pretty easily and will definitely be making this a regular run.  I sat here for awhile just enjoying the solitude and the view.)

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Sunday:  17 miles on the Appalachian Trail (Ran an easier section that is more runnable trail than I’m used to.  I figure I should try to do trails like this more often for this training.  I’m still planning to work some elevation into my long runs though, just not every time since Devil Dog’s elevation gain is more friendly than Cayuga was!)

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I couldn’t stop laughing at the picture of the guy on this sign.  I know how it feels to do a face plant!

So that’s where I’m at currently.

What is your favorite mantra?

Have you ever been to Nashville?

I had a great time there and would love to go back again someday!

 

20 Miler on the Appalachian Trail


It was a hazy, humid, and surprisingly warmer day.  The weather report said 64 degrees and thunderstorms around 1:00, so I wanted to start early and get this run in.  I wasn’t too confident about the predicted temps so I also had my light windbreaker and a baseball hat, in case it rained, in my pack.  I ate a maple french toast bagel with cream cheese and drove to the Boiling Springs Tavern to start my run early.

It was 45 degrees and cloudy when I started so I wore my light long sleeve over a short sleeve shirt and a light earband.

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First two miles are basically through the farmlands heading toward that mountain in the distance!

By the time I reached the mountain, I stopped to stuff my gloves, earband, and long sleeve in my pack, which was becoming really full!

Some scenes from the run.  Heading southbound offers a lot of nice elevation change which I need in my training.

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Boulders!

 

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I seriously thought this was a trash bag until I got close enough to realize it was snow!
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View around 5 miles in.

 

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Besides these Honey Stinger chews, I also had a Honey Stinger mini chocolate waffle, peanut butter crackers, two bottles of Nuun, and ALL the water in my hydration bladder.  Guess I need to start filling it to the top!

When I hit 17 miles, I had just done my last climb and I couldn’t take the humidity anymore, so I stuffed my short sleeve in my pack as well and continued on in sports bra only.  I kept seeing hikers wearing long sleeves and thought I was just overheating until I got back to my car and saw it was 75!  One guy I saw commented how much I had stuffed in my pack.  LOL

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Looking back on the mountain as I headed back to my car.  

What I ate after the run (I decided today is my “eat whatever you want” day)

I’m always posting good for you, healthy food, so here is what I eat on cheat days!

  • Honey Stinger protein bar & water immediately after run
  • Glass of Nuun Active
  • Lunch:  leftover ribs, 2 red beet eggs and 3 red beets, munster cheese, baby carrots
  • Dessert:  Twist in a cone 🙂
  • Snack: 3/4 of a bag of vanilla cup cake Goldfish
  • Dinner:  2 slices pepperoni pizza, french fries, Diet Coke
  • I’m really thirsty for milk for some reason so I’m going to have some with another snack before bed!  I have over 1600 calories to replace 🙂
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    Isn’t this a picture perfect swirl?  

 

Reflection of my Run

  • This was my 3rd run of 19 miles or more in this training.  I felt strong in my core even in the fourth hour of running.  I’ve noticed that in all of these long runs!  (My back used to get tired around that point before I started doing regular core strengthening).
  •  My legs felt pretty good, although my knees were feeling sore going up and down hill from the cumulative elevation of all of my runs the past week or so.
  • Fueling went well, despite the fact that I had GI issues twice along the way. (Thank goodness this was not a road run or I would have been in serious trouble!). Not sure if that’s related to what I ate the night before (ribs?) or the fact that it is my TOM and that always can give me unpredictable issues once in awhile from headaches to GI issues to tingling/dizziness.

Thinking I will do some easy cycling and rest my knees tomorrow!  I have a 10 miler scheduled, but if I run it, I will choose a fairly flat area and do a super easy recovery run.   Tomorrow’s goal is recovery!

Are you an ice cream fanatic like me?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soggy, Slippery, Sunset Rocks


We got a ton of rain today, which washed away most of the remaining snow.  While it poured, I caught up on some things around the house and did some core and stretching routines while watching Netflix with Hunter.  Finally, a few hours after lunch, I got myself ready for long run #2 and drove out to Pine Grove.  It was still raining lightly and super foggy driving over the mountain.  The trails were pretty much the same.

I chose to run the AT past the halfway point and past Tom’s Run shelter, to Sunset Rocks and complete the loop.  The AT was pretty soggy with large puddles in some places, but not as muddy as I thought it would be.  Sunset Rocks were very slippery so I really took my time scrambling through there!  Legs were feeling pretty good.

Saw another pileated woodpecker about a half mile from the place I saw one a few weeks ago on the same trail.  Pretty cool!

Here are some pics from today.  I hope everyone had a great weekend of running!

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My current favorite running socks.  There was one pair on runningwarehouse.com a few months ago at a clearance price of like $5 so I snagged them.  They are so warm and comfortable!  I’ll have to get some lighter ones for when spring gets here.
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Two weeks ago I thought I’d pass the halfway point but I had to turn around and head back.  Today I passed it and realized I had only been about a half mile away!

 

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And a random mailbox in the middle of the woods next to the halfway sign!  When it’s closer to spring maybe I’ll leave something for thru-hikers 🙂

 

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Tom’s Run shelter.  Pretty nice little set up. 

 

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It can be the gloomiest, yuckiest weather and I still always feel renewed  and happy after a trail run!

 

That’s a Wrap, Week # 6 of Training in the Books:

Monday:  REST

Tuesday:  3.5 miles easy

Wednesday:  7 road miles @ 8:36 average pace

Thursday:  4 mile snow run

Friday:  5 mile cycle, lifting, core

Saturday:  16 snowy AT miles, lots of elevation change

Sunday:  stretching, foam rolling, core, & 9 mile trail run

 

Looks like a weather warm up is on the way.  Enjoy your miles, guys!

 

 

 

 

 

Naan bread pizza, my favorite salad from Panera, and a snowy A.T. run!


 

Food First!

We LOVE Naan bread pizza.  So good with Aldi’s sundried tomato pesto and topped with cheese and any veggies you have in the fridge.  This one has yellow bell pepper, red cabbage, and onion.  I ate the whole thing Friday night as my carb loading for today’s long trail run.   Then I went to the gym for some lifting and core!

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After today’s run I was starving.  I had to drop off my son at the movies for his date, and Panera is in the same parking lot.  This quinoa citrus beet salad was calling my name!

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Sweet Frog is also near the movies so this happened when I went to pick him up after his date.  There are four different flavors of frozen yogurt in there:  peanut butter, chocolate, cake batter, and pecan.

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Appalachian Trail Run

After taking my son to practice, I met up with two wonderful ladies from my Moms Run This Town group.  Thanks for sharing the miles up to Center Point Knob with me, Denise and Vickie!  We started at the Boiling Springs Tavern and the first two miles are mostly through cornfields and it wasn’t easy this morning with 4-5″ of snow to trudge through!

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I took this on the way back to my car.  The snow had started to melt before I got there!

 

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Thankfully others had forged the way before us in most spots!  This is another one taken on my way back.

 

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Love, love, love the section after Whiskey Springs.

 

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Making my way up to the top of this climb.

 

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Part of the rock scramble.  The trail goes right through here!

 

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Temps started at 25 degrees and hit almost 50 by the time I finished!

 

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Heading back up another climb about halfway through the run.  

Lots of elevation today.  16 total miles and feeling good!  I think 16 snowy trail miles should count as at least 20!   Spent a good hour cleaning out the goat shed which is definitely cross training.  Looking forward to sleeping in and hitting the trails for 10 tomorrow.

Enjoy your miles this weekend!

 

Exploring the A.T.


Met up with the Appalachian Running Company for a group Appalachian Trail run.  Some people did a shorter out and back and others (myself included) did a point to point which was just about 11 miles.  We started at the Boiling Springs Tavern and ran south.

I was not sure how this run would go because I have been fighting some kind of cold  for the past day or so.  I can feel it sitting in my chest and I’ve been sneezing and more cold than usual, so I decided to take it extra easy today and just get it done.  Surprisingly about half way through I felt pretty decent so I was able to finish strong.  Hoping I can get another longer run in tomorrow if I rest enough today!

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Heading to the mountain!
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One of the guys took his dog along for the run and he was nice enough to take my pic for me!

 

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My first time at Center Point Knob.

 

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Definitely rocky up here and I love it!

 

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So easy to just follow the white blazes.  I’m so grateful to live so close to the AT!

 

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Really enjoyed this section.

 

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And who doesn’t love a boulder maze in the middle of your run?  There were a ton of these to scramble over at the top of this mountain.

 

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Guess it’s back to bundling up again.  After a week or so of runs in the 50’s we’re back to 30 something degrees.

 

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Right about here it started to snow and continued to do so until we arrived at our destination.  Depending on the elevation of the trail you didn’t always feel it in your face, but I didn’t mind!

 

I hadn’t realized we were ending at Hunters Run, but I definitely recognized the last few miles of this trail because that is where I got to meet Scott Jurek and  run with him (the other direction) on his journey in 2015.  Brought back some cool memories!  And it just amazes me even more that he went on to tackle these climbs and scramble these boulders in the dark to head to Boiling Springs for the night, only halfway through his 2,200 mile journey!
There were donuts waiting for us at the finish and I helped myself to my favorite, Boston Creme.  People had cars parked at the end so we could all hitch a ride back to the tavern.  I hope they organize this run again because it was a great morning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Run with an Ultramarathon Legend


I thought I’d share with you one of the most memorable moments of my running life.

In May 2015 I had one thing on my mind.  I wanted to run an ultra.  I had done four road marathons and countless half marathons by that point and was craving longer distance.  And craving trails. My first step was to spend an afternoon at the library checking out all the books on ultra running and trail running that I could find.

On a whim, I found Eat & Run by Scott Jurek.  It turned out he was kind of a big deal in the ultramarathoning world.  Scott had raced and won some of the toughest ultramarathons in the world.  Winner of Western States 100 seven times in a row!  Winner of Badwater in 2005 and 2006.  The list goes on!   (For the record, after reading about Badwater and then watching a ton of You Tube videos about it, I have much respect for anyone that even attempts it!).  I was now even more motivated to find my own ultra to run after reading Scott Jurek’s book.  I highly recommend it to anyone looking for some inspiration or nutrition information.  Just amazing.

So, here’s the cool part.  After finishing up Scott’s book, I happened to be on Facebook and saw a post about him going for the Appalachian Trail record that summer. I could not believe it!  I live near the AT and it just seemed so bizarre that I had just read the book and he was literally running my way, in the midst of this journey.  So what did I do?  I started tracking him online and a few days later I found myself driving to a road crossing by the AT, dressed for my afternoon run.  I figured, what the heck?  If I don’t catch him, it wasn’t meant to be.  I’ll just get a nice afternoon run in on the trail.

As I pulled into the tiny parking lot I could NOT believe my eyes.  A Brooks van!  It HAD to be Scott Jurek!  I parked and walked over to the van and was greet by two trail runners, and none other than Scott Jurek who was inside the van with his wife Jenny.  “Hey there, are you headed out for a run?” he asked me.  I told him I was and he said he was just refueling and that I could join them.  The other runners had met Scott a few miles back and were going to continue on with him as well.  After saying goodbye to his wife, Scott led the way and the guys and I followed along.

Now, I have never met anyone famous in my life.  I always wondered what I would do if I did.  Would I be star struck and lose all capability of speaking?  Would I act like a total idiot and in this case, trip over my own feet?  Thankfully, no!  As we started on down the trail with Scott Jurek that afternoon, it didn’t take me long to realize that he was the most down to earth person you could ever meet.  I mean, the man had been running for over 23 days, over 1,000 miles, and here he was inviting us to tag along.  We continued on the trail, discussing running, where we were from, what we do for a living, etc.  We even talked about parts of his book.  The whole time I felt as if I had met up to do a few miles with an old running buddy.  I even had a chance to talk to Scott about my dream to run an ultra.  I told him I had just finished his book and that I couldn’t believe I was here running with him.  I asked him if he had any advice for me running my first ultra.  At the time I had tossed around the idea of a 12 hour endurance race.  He basically said fueling is key and that no matter what I decide to use, make sure to fuel regularly throughout the race.  Eat before you are hungry…even if you think you don’t need it.  Ultramarathon advice from a true legend.  I tell ya, I couldn’t have planned that better if I had tried.

About 2 miles in, we came to another road crossing.  Scott let out a loud appreciative howl before we emerged from the woods, letting them know he was coming.  One of those awesome fans snapped a pic and sent it to me.  There I am 3rd one back!

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Scott invited anyone who was planning on running join in.   Our new and larger group ran a little farther into the woods and then Scott stopped to adjust his shoe and ended up addressing a question someone had about why he was on this journey.  He sat down on a wooden bench and proceeded to tell us about the dream had and his wife Jenny had to have a family someday.  They had been through a miscarriage and a lot of sorrow in the time leading up to his decision to tackle the AT.  They needed time away and hoped that it would happen for them in the future.

Once we started running again, I realized I had lost track of time.  It would be getting dark soon and I would have to turn around and run back to my car alone.  It was time for me to turn back around, so I called to Scott who was running a few people ahead of me.  I yelled goodbye and that it was an honor to run with him.  He said goodbye, and as I turned and ran I heard him shout best wishes to me in my first ultra and to remember to fuel properly!

As I ran solo back to my car I remember saying a little prayer for him and for Jenny about their wish to start a family.  I remember thanking the stars for lining up just right so that I could have this once in a lifetime opportunity.  I had run with an ultramarathon legend! Although Scott’s book alone had inspired me, running in his footsteps felt like a catalyst to my future.

Scott was pushing through obstacles, pain, exhaustion, and all the things that were out of his control to cover approximately 50 miles per day.  A a true test of endurance.  A chance to persevere. A chance to test limits and reconnect with nature.  In the middle of it all, he was taking the time to talk with his fans, answer their questions, and share the experience with them.

As you probably know, Scott Jurek went on to claim the Appalachian Trail record in 46 days, 8 hours, and 7 minutes.  Also, Scott and Jenny went on to have a baby girl this past June. . .born on Global Running Day, I might add!  (Check this Runner’s World article out here Scott Jurek Gets Global Running Day Surprise.) And just last month, one of Scott’s friends Karl Meltzer claimed a new AT record, almost 10 hours faster than Scott…but the amazing part?  Scott Jurek joined Meltzer in the last 31 miles.  I wouldn’t have expected anything else!

As for me?  I ended up running my first race longer than a marathon, the Ironmaster’s 50K, in Pine Grove Furnace State Park.  My first ultra was an adventure for sure, which I will save for another post;  however, Scott Jurek’s  fueling advice worked like a charm.