100 miles? What do you think??

Can I just say, the best thing to do after a 50 mile race is to spend a week with your family and boyfriend doing nothing other than eating, sleeping, and relaxing. We spent the week in Minnesota and although it is the land of 10,000 lakes, I really only got to see two of them.

Oh, and this little river called the Mississippi.

We celebrated Tony’s birthday with cake and a ball game. The lady from the bakery must’ve thought Tony was turning 8, and not 28. Tony was delighted with the decorations though.

There is nothing better than floating on a lake sipping beers. They didn’t make the picture, but they were there.

Running over these last two week since the TRT50 has been pretty good. Although I haven’t been sore, I’ve been taking it easy because you never know what little surprises your body has in store for you after 50 miles in the mountains. I’ve done a few short (2-5 miles) runs on the treadmill, a nice and easy 9.5 miler on rolling hills, and a 6 mile, 2,000ft elevation run/hike today which felt great. I don’t want to push it too much, but I am easing back into training again because I’m considering running a 100 miler.

The Rio Del Lago 100 miler is taking place October 6th this year. I’m 50% sure I’m gonna do it. I know, a 100 mile race isn’t something you can go into half-hearted, but I haven’t quite decided if I’ve got the cajones yet. Fortunately, I can keep plodding along with training and see how I feel in a month. If I manage to get some 50K races in and some high mileage weeks, I might just give it a go and see what happens.

Meanwhile, I’m gonna enjoy these last few weeks of freedom before going back to high school. While high school sucked for me the first time, maybe it’ll be easier 10 years later. I just have to make sure I can play the part of mature adult/teacher/authority figure and don’t regress into an insecure teenage girl. Those years are over!

So 100 mile race or not, this fall will sure be interesting.

I will leave you with a picture explaining why I was not sore after the TRT50 and why it took me almost 15 hours.

Can’t think of a more beautiful place to be walking :)

TRT50: Race Recap

…continued from here.

I woke up bright–well, dark–and early at 3:15 am. I had gotten advice from a seasoned ultrarunner to eat as much as possible before this race, because I wouldn’t want to eat anything else all day long. (His words would come back and haunt me.) Unfortunately, breakfast at the host hotel was pretty sub par. I had a bowl of cereal, and a GIANT gluten free cookie brought from home, taking in roughly 700 calories total.

Breakfast in bed..? Breakfast in bathroom!

My crew (Mom, bro Jason, and boyfriend Tony) took me to the start line a few minutes before 5 am, which was an hour early. As we walked up the path, we realized we were facing the start line, and there were a bunch of headlight-wearing 100 milers ready to charge us!

 It was cool to get a chance to see these hard-core crazies start their race. I will be one of them next year have no idea what would possess someone to do a 100 mile race on this course. Mad props to those who finished it.

Soon enough, it was time to start the 50 miler and 50k. While we were milling around, I ran into a few people I knew from ZombieRunner (the store I work at). It’s great seeing familiar faces at a race, especially when you’ll be sharing the trails with these people for the next 15 hours.

At 6 am we all headed out. There is no mad rush in a ultra race. We all kind of trotted along, and after 5 minutes or so several people were walking. It was a gorgeous time of day since the sun was just rising, and we had some amaaazing views to check out as we headed up the trails to the first aid station.

I felt great for the first 17 miles or so. At that point, we’d tackled one of the tough climbs of the day, the “infamous” Red House loop, which wasn’t bad at all. At the aid station, I changed my socks which had gotten soaked in some creek crossings. I was feeling great, hydrating well, and tolerating food.

Then, it all went to pot.

As I left the aid station, I grabbed a turkey and cheese sandwich to go. Suddenly, my stomach wasn’t liking the bread. I tossed the sandwich, not thinking much of it, and kept going. 3 miles later at the next aid station, I had a tough time taking potato chips. Usually this is my go to food since it’s salty and dry, but I really couldn’t stomach anything. Soon I started to feel the affects of either not eating enough, or being at altitude (about 9,000 ft). Or…the 85 degree weather. I couldn’t tell which was what, and just struggled to make it the next 9 miles to the aid station at Diamond Peak, where I would see my family and get a much needed mental boost.

I jogged into Diamond Peak looking for my family. This was the only car-access aid station so I knew it’d be the last place I’d see them before the finish. As I handed my pack and my water bottle off to a volunteer to be filled, I walked around looking for them. Then I picked up my phone and tried calling them. After leaving messages on all their voicemails I finally managed to get ahold of my brother. “Where are you guys??” I said, panicky. “We’re almost there!” “What, like 5 minutes?” “More like 20 or so.” (Please excuse my dialogue-writing skills btw.)

I was crestfallen when I realized I wouldn’t see them at this aid station. If I waited 20 minutes (and turns out it would’ve been more like 30-40), I would’ve cooled down, as well as lost momentum. I didn’t actually need anything from them, but all I wanted in the world was just to see their faces and hear some encouraging words. I actually began sobbing when I talked to them on the phone, and made quite a spectacle of myself there. I found out later that a lot of people dropped from the race at this aid station (since it’s right before the longest and hardest climb of the race). I feel foolish now for being overly emotional about not seeing my family when there were people who physically felt horrible enough to drop from the race.

After a few minutes of crying, I grabbed a turkey sandwich, realized I was 28 and not 5, shut down the tears, and kept it moving.

Once I set off from the aid station, it was time to get serious. Diamond Peak was no joke. The climb starts out innocent enough, and you think, Oh, that wasn’t so bad. That’s what everyone was worried about? Then, you turn the corner and think, Oh sh*t. THAT’S what everyone was worried about. After 20 minutes of inching up the 30 degree incline, you reach a false summit. And then again 20 minutes after that. Seriously, there were so many damned false summits that I though I was in an MC Escher drawing. Sisyphus and his boulder have nothing on Diamond Peak. It was torture. The whole time I was thinking of the poor 100 milers, most of whom would have to make this climb in the middle of the night. I said a little prayer for them.

This 2D picture doesn’t do it justice. And it’s only a fraction of the climb.

Nothing like an angry self-photo to make things seem less serious

After finally, finally reaching the summit, I felt fantastic. I felt invincible, and mistakenly thought that the rest of the race would be a breeze from here on out. I’m sure this would’ve been the case if I’d being more meticulous with fueling. Instead, a few short miles from Diamond Peak, I found myself struggling to keep up a slow jog. I had used all my fuel during the climb, and was really falling behind on calories. Another problem was starting to occur as well. The Diamond Peak climb was basically all sand. It was like climbing uphill on the beach. Without gaiters (rookie error Megan!), massive amounts of sand had compiled in my shoes. I could feel the friction, yet didn’t want to stop, sit down, and empty my shoes. Since there was a lot of sand on the entire course, I knew that they’d be filled up again in a matter of minutes. I thought I could tough it out, but in hindsight I should’ve just stopped every half hour to empty my shoes. Would’ve saved me a lot of pain.

I breezed through Bull Wheel, the next aid station after Diamond Peak, just filling my water bottles and grabbing some potato chips. A few minutes later, I remembered that I needed to consciously eat as many calories as possible. I pulled a Bonk Breaker bar out of my bag, took a small bite, and gagged. I couldn’t even stomach a small bite. At this point, with blisters forming on my feet and feeling lightheaded and nauseous, I knew that the next 15 miles were going to be the most uncomfortable 15 miles I’ve ever gone. While the pain forming in my feet was pretty bad, the worst thing to deal with was feeling like my heart was going to beat a hole through my chest and that I had no energy whatsoever to lift my feet up time and time again. I knew I was going to finish, but I also knew it was going to take a while, and be a rough go of it.

This view is the reason I was only 90% miserable

The discomfort lasted for miles and hours. Finally, at the second to last aid station, I knew I had to force food down my gullet or I was in danger of collapsing on the trail. Seriously. Fortunately, these kind souls had soup going that I knew was mostly for the 100 milers heading out into the night, but was the one thing that calmed my stomach down. They also had some protein packed strawberry Ensure smoothies that, when slowly sipped, I was able to tolerate. I fear to think now, after knowing that I ran the last part of the race in the dark, how things would have turned out if I hadn’t refueled properly here. I can only be grateful that I finished the race the way I did, and didn’t come across worse circumstances.

10 miles left in the race. I took it easy while my body absorbed the calories I’d just ingested. What a waste would it be if, after struggling down all that food, I spewed it all along the trail? Thankfully, I kept moving and kept the food down. And soon enough, I felt good enough to run.

And run I did, until I realized that half my right heel, as well as under my toes and under my arch were covered in blisters. Really?? After 40 some miles, and finally well fueled, I found it painful to land on my feet, of all things. My legs felt great, but with every step I felt a sharp and painful stab at my heel. I wanted to stop and cry, but more than anything I wanted to be at that damn finish line, so I kept it moving, wincing every time I stepped, but knowing that the blister had to give at some point, and either way every step I took was one step closer to being done.

Finally, finally, finally…the blister popped. (Lovely, I know. You’re welcome.) I was able to run, and run I did. Not because I felt new, or energized, or had a second wind, but because the sun was setting. I ran the sh*t out of those last few miles and only stopped about 1 mile out from the finish, because at that point it was too dark for safe footing. (If you know me, you know I’m prone to eating it on the trail. I don’t stay on two feet easily. Falling is my middle name.) I pulled out my iPhone flashlight app and power-walked my way towards the finish line while trying to hold back panic and tears.

Finally, I finished. Yes, no fancy way of putting it. It was uneventful, unlike my finish at AR50. 14 hours and 53 minutes. I ran it in, yes, and people were cheering, but that was it. I had no emotion left in me. I wanted to take off my socks, take a shower, and collapse in bed. I got my plaque, kissed my family, and got the heck out of there.


You’d think that after running 50 miles at altitude with 10,000 ft of incline while barely fueling, one would be hungry, right? I wish I could’ve eaten. But my stomach was a shambles. I barely got down half a baked potato and a few bites of salad from Wendy’s. I only ate because I knew I had to. Before I drifted off to sleep, I consciously propped my pillow up so that my food would digest and I wouldn’t vomit in my sleep.

Come 3 am and I was ravenous. Hunger so strong it was painful. Nothing in my room was palatable except popcorn, and since Tony had been such an angel throughout this ordeal I didn’t want to wake him up with the noise. After a fitful half hour I managed to fall back asleep. At 6 am, my subconscious knew that the breakfast room was open and I slept-walked there to eat a hot waffle. It was the best food I’d ever had in my whole life. It was only after I ate the waffle, ate a cup of yogurt, went back to the room and was drifting off to sleep once again, that I knew I’d be OK.

Final Thoughts

When I woke up for good the next day, I realized I wasn’t that sore. I’d been more sore after road marathons. Did this attest to the fact that I was in fantastic shape?? No. It meant that I could’ve ran faster, climbed harder, and come in hours earlier. In fact, this whole week of “recovery,” really just 2 days till I felt normal again, has made me a little bitter and angry at myself. How is one fully recovered 2 days after a 50 mile mountain race?? I should be sore, aching, icing and medicating. I should have pain that I earned. Instead, I earned a finish, but that’s it. I could’ve done better.

Next year I’m going back for more. TRT50, I got you. Until then, there are a few more 50 milers that have my name on them.

TRT50 Teaser

Yesterday was epic. I almost don’t want to write up a race report because I’m afraid I’ll leave something out, or won’t be able to do the experience justice. So I’m gonna take some time to piece together a proper race report. For now, just the bullet points:

-Finished! :) in 14:53 :(

-Made some very rookie mistakes that cost me some precious time–running in the dark for the last 30 minutes was NOT fun

-I’m not really sore today (day after). Which is a bummer! Means I could have pushed it more if there weren’t other complications…

-“A Taste of Heaven; A Glimpse of Hell” is the TRT motto, and very very appropriate

-Heard there was a mama bear and her cubs on the course. Thank GOD I didn’t run into her in the dark!

-There was a 100 mile race too. Twice the 50 loop. Guy who won came in 4 hours after me. Insane.

-Am already planning on signing up again next year for redemption.

Being on that course was like nothing else. It was almost spiritual in a way. Even during my lowest points I knew I’d be doing this race again.

Now, time to relax! I get to spend a week with my favorite people at a cabin by a lake in Minnesota. I’m stoked to relax, get some good reading in, and maybe go on a few runs. Oh, and find the words to describe my epic adventure yesterday.

What did I get myself into…

One week until the Tahoe Rim Trail 50 Miler.

During the taper before every race, I start to get into freak-out mode. Currently, it’s in full force and I know that this coming week will be filled with anxiety, excitement, nausea, doubt, and lots of nervous energy.

Have you ever been online shopping in the middle of the night and you end up getting a pair of shoes that seem great when you buy them, but when you wake up in the morning, you know that you’ll never end up wearing them? They’re too tall, or too flashy, or have too much leopard print and you know you won’t have the confidence to actually wear them out in public.

Well, that’s what I did when I signed up for the Tahoe Rim Trail 50 Mile Endurance Run. The guts I had at that fateful early morning hour have long since disappeared. This will be by far the most difficult race I’ve ever done for a few reasons.

1. My training has been mediocre at best.

2. This course has an elevation gain of about 10,000 feet over 50 miles. That’s a lot of feet. And a lot of miles.

3. It all takes place around the Tahoe Rim Trail, which varies between 6,000-9,000 feet in elevation.

No, it’s not as hard as Hardrock100 (which is being run as we speak). Those people are badasses. But TRT is no joke. And I’m starting to freak-out….

So to maintain my sanity during this taper, I’ve been focusing on the simple things.

Spending time with some hairy friends…


Trying to eat less of things like these…


And more of things like this:

And trying to focus on the fact that I’ve done something like this before:




The hardest part of the taper is knowing that there is nothing left you can do to prepare. The fact that my training has been sup-par makes me more anxious, and I’m trying to focus on getting my head in the game as much as possible. I know that ultra-races tend to be more mental than physical, and that is one aspect I know I’ll have control over. No matter what happens next Saturday, I’ll enjoy a day of beautiful trails overlooking some of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
And on Sunday, I can as much ice cream as I want. 😉

Racing as Training

I’ve learned over the last few months that using shorter races as training runs for longer races can be very useful and effective. For example, people training for their first marathon may do a few 10k’s and a half-marathon sometime during their training cycle. As the distances go longer, it becomes harder and harder to gain motivation to do a long run, especially if you run by yourself like I do. (Seriously thinking about joining an run club for crazy ultrarunners.) Before my first 50 miler in April I had run 3 50k’s and one marathon during training. For my next 50 miler, I’ve done 2 50k’s so far, and several long-ish trail runs.

Since running has been taking over my life, I decided that rather than do some of the 50k’s I was thinking of signing up for, but that take place on the weekends, I would just try to do some longer runs by myself on my other days off.

Tuesday I attempted to do a solo 30 mile run.

It fell short to about 21 miles. I woke up too late, wore too much clothing for the 80 degree weather (you lie Weather.com!!!!), and didn’t pack enough food. If I run 20 miles in a marathon training cycle (where most training runs would be on the road), it would take me about 3 1/2 hours, and I would eat about 3 GU, or 300 calories worth of food. This is NOT sufficient for a 21 mile trail run. Climbing 5,300 ft. takes a lot of energy, and I suppose I underestimated my necessary food intake. Vastly. Towards the end of the run, the heat and hunger were getting to me. I started to hallucinate, and I imagined I saw wild turkeys on the trail.

I also hallucinated water. Sitting on a throne. Weird.

All in all, it was a tough run. I got a little lost on the trail and became discouraged. I definitely didn’t push myself as much as I could have.

Here are my conclusions about using races as training runs:


-Well stocked aid stations

-Other people on the course=competition to push yourself, and company to talk to when the going gets tough

-Conveniently placed colored ribbons so you do not get lost

-You’re forced to get up early! Good thing if like me, you’re not a morning person

-A cool coaster (or medal as the case may be) and a t-shirt

-Lovely race photos

-You have to get it done or your record is tainted with a DNF (did not finish)


-Races are usually farther to drive to than you’d go for a training run

-I like my $$ and don’t enjoy parting with it

-Most races are on the weekend. Sometimes you have to sacrifice social plans. (Pro is I’m not that popular :))

-Competition is not always good when in training. If you push yourself too much you can get injured or just take much longer to recover. Not the purpose of a training run.

-“Lovely” race photos

So although races are convenient ways to get long runs in (especially when those long runs are 30 miles), I don’t think I will be racing until the big one. I have about 2 more weeks of pushing myself and doing long runs until my favorite time of training: taper time!

I will conclude this post with a link to an article about chicking. It’s a cool article, but the comments are the most interesting. Who knew this was such a controversial and hot topic?? Ellie Greenwood is a rock star and she’s gonna kill it at Western States this weekend. She’s ultra-runnings’ Kara Goucher. Go Ellie!

Since I “chicked” several guys at American River 50, here’s a photo of me “chicking”:

(those are my glasses in the eye holes)

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer thus far :)

A Monday in Photos

Yes, I know today is Tuesday, but my Monday was more interesting so I’ll blog about that.

Photos from Monday:


I fell about a half-mile into my run. It’s been awhile since I’ve fallen, so it was a bit of a shock. I was gonna call it quits and head home, but then I realized I wasn’t hurt at all. Just dirty. I ran 10 miles total in 1 hour 37 minutes. That includes time it took to fall, pout, and wash my wounds. And periodically wipe blood from my hands. Overall, good run. :)


Tony and I had plans with friends in San Francisco, so we took the ferry from Oakland. This was on the way to the ferry. I managed to resist temptation. Then, there was one in Pier 39! I ended up going without, but caved and had a midnight McFlurry. Which was SO good.



(Hmmm. Wind-blown hair doesn’t look so great on me.) It was so fun to take a boat across the bay. Great idea Tony! We’ve both lived in the Bay Area for over 20 years each and have never taken the ferry. It was great being tourists for the day. Next time we’ll tell people we’re from Arkansas and it’s our first time out of the state. It’ll give us an excuse to be awkward and weird :)



We went to a great seafood restaurant in Fisherman’s Wharf. 2 reasons I’m a bad blogger: I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, and I didn’t take any other pictures of what I ate. I can tell you that we shared clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and lobster gnocci with pesto. Both were deeee-licious :)


It’s almost the end of the month and June will be action packed. It’s the last month to cram in training for TRT50 so I have a couple 50k’s coming up. I’m hoping to hit 40-50 miles each week for the month of June. So lots of running and eating posts coming up! I just hope I can stay on my feet :)

Granoatmeal and some running stats


Today I had a breakfast of champions: Granoatmeal. It’s a very unique invention of mine. I don’t want to give away the secret recipe, but I will tell you that it involves granola and oatmeal:

Don’t worry, it tasted MUCH better than it looks.

On a different note, I won’t be participating in the Western States training camp this weekend. Something more important came up, involving the A’s, the Yankees, some friends, and some beer. To some of you ulrarunners who might be wondering why I’m skipping a run on an epic course to go to a ball game, I tell you this: running isn’t everything. :)

Although… it is still a priority to me. So I’ve been trying to fit in some longer runs this week on the mountain I have in my backyard. Here are some gorgeous photos of me, and some run stats.










Yes, I know, 3 hours for 12 miles sounds super slow. But note the elevation (bottom right)!!


from Tuesday. but just roll with it.









Again, slow, but a lot of climbing. I’m trying to get as much in as possible, because the Tahoe Rim Trail 50 miler is going to have about 10,000 feet elevation gain and loss. And this will all take place at an elevation of 6,000 – 9,000 ft. This will be a much different experience than AR50, but who knows? It might be the newest Best Day Ever.

Good news is, I’m not sore at all from my two runs. Next week I’ll aim to get one 20+ mile run with as much climbing as I can find. My goal is to not only build up the endurance and strength, but to try to speed up a little bit. As of now, it looks like it’ll take me 13+ hours to finish this race, which is fine, but the more hours I’m out there the more mental toughness I’ll need.

So looks like for the next 6 weeks it’ll be me vs. the mountain!

Question: Does anyone have any advice for running at altitude? I know 9,000 ft. isn’t superhigh, but altitude affects people differently and I’d like to be prepared.