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 :)

Ok with Good Enough

If you know me personally, you know that I can be stubborn and impulsive. I have extreme emotions and opinions, and have trouble finding a gray area. There are two problems with this: I am not consistent, and I am not satisfied easily.

My “issues” have affected my life in several ways. One has been my career, or lack thereof. I have always been a smart and hardworking person, but it took me 8 years to graduate college. Not because it was hard, but because I lacked motivation and conviction about what I wanted to study. If I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to major in something, I would take my time until I felt that passion. Even when I settled on pursuing an English degree, it was a struggle to complete because I had moments where I wasn’t completely satisfied with what I was doing.

After I graduated, I cycled through various career options. I reaaaally wanted to be a physical therapist. I new that that was my destiny. But then when I pursued that path tentatively, I found things that didn’t sound so perfect about it after all. The next “perfect” career was a dietitian. And a trainer. And so on and so forth.

As I am approaching this upcoming school year (in which I’ll be pursuing a teaching credential), I’ve questioned several times whether this is the career path for me. And with a lot of soul searching and a lot of guidance from Wise Tony, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s OK if teaching is not My Destiny. It can be a great and challenging job that I may or may not enjoy. But it’ll pay the bills (ha! right), and it is worth following through on something even though it may not be perfect and I may not be 100% satisfied.

What does this have to do with running?

Not much. But as I was on my run today, the 15 miler that turned in to 6, I’ve come to the conclusion that something isn’t vibing with my running lately. And that’s OK. I may not be as prepared as is ideal for my upcoming 50 miler, but what I’ve done is good enough to get me through the race. Maybe ultrarunning is not My Destiny. Or maybe it is my destiny to enjoy it as much as possible, and embrace the bad training days as well as the good.

So I am officially on my taper. It will be a rough race. However it goes, it’ll be an experience to savor and learn from, and it will definitely be an adventure. I don’t think it’ll be the best day of my life, but who knows. I’ll be OK if it’s just good enough.

And you know what? Sometimes I don’t settle for good enough. Sometimes it’s important to hold out for perfect.


I love this guy because not only is he perfect in every way, but he sure knows how to handle me and my issues. <3 Plus, he’s cute.


Oh, and how can I forget. Some pics from this weekend celebrating my friends’ wedding in Half Moon Bay.

All in all, a fabulous weekend. :)

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.

Running Isn’t Everything

Running isn’t everything. This is something that I’ve been starting to realize and think about more and more in the last few weeks. Lately, running has pretty much ruled my life. In the fall of last year, I started working at ZombieRunner, a fabulous store that caters to all runners, but mostly trail and ultrarunners. Not long after starting the job, I signed up for my first and second 50 mile races. Kind of extreme, right? I’d never ran more than a marathon and already I was browsing websites to see what would be the perfect first 100 mile race. That’s right, 100 miles. I knew I’d be able to tackle 50 no problem and I was already dreaming of taking the next step to 100 miles before I’d ever ran my first ultra.

In January, I ran my first ultramarathon- Crystal Springs 50K in Woodside, CA. It was beautiful and fun and easy. (It was easy because I ran at an easy pace. I always do. If I were to ever push myself for speed, I might not have as much fun running. So “easy” doesn’t make me a super-athlete, it just means I’m a slacker.) After that, I was hooked.

Since then, I’ve been running 50K’s as training for my 50 milers. Since January I’ve run 4 50K’s and one 50 miler. My next 50 miler will be in July at the Tahoe Rim Trail 50M, and I have 2 50K’s in mind to do before then, as well as a training run at Western States training camp next weekend.

So basically, this is my life in a nutshell:

Work in a running store. Talk running, ultrarunning, trail running. Browse race/blog/shoe websites when it’s slow.

Run. Train on treadmills and trails. Speedwork, long runs, strength training for proper form.

Race or volunteer *almost* every weekend. Race as practice. Volunteer to give back (and to earn a free race entry. It’s a vicious cycle).

And I’m just starting to realize that maybe it’s a bit too much. 

Some runners have friends who are runners. I have friends who like to run, but aren’t as overly-obsessed with running as I am. I’ll read blogs about other ultrarunners who say then went on a nighttime trail run with a bunch of buddies, or had a friend pace them the last 30 miles of a race. I don’t have those kinds of friends. My friend Dan recently asked me to play softball for his team for a game. (I sucked, btw, but that’s neither here nor there.) I, however, don’t think I could ask Dan to pace me the last 30 miles at Rio Del Lago (or whatever 100 I might end up running).

Which is not a bad thing. I think if I surrounded myself with other ultrarunners, I might get a little carried away. True, my running might improve if I had more people to push me and train with me. However, I know there are other things in life that are more important to me that running:



I only began thinking about this whole running-is-taking-over-my-life thing recently because of some things I’ve been missing out on due to running. Stay out late on Saturday? No, I woke up at 6, ran 30 miles, and have to work at the store the next morning. A’s game next weekend? No, I’m volunteering *or* running 30 miles. Again.

I am extremely grateful to be able to do what I’m doing. I am healthy. I have the time. I have the means. Running can be an extremely selfish sport. Tony has had to put up with watching me run more than ever while he’s dealing with multiple knee surgeries. He’s also had to wake up at the butt-crack of dawn to watch my races. Sometimes we miss out on fun things going on with his friends because we’ll be out of town for a race. Poor guy.

All this being said, I’m not getting burnt out. I am enjoying every running-related moment I have. I know come fall, I’ll be back in school, taking graduate classes and teaching middle schoolers how to read, and running will fall on the wayside. I’ll look to the weekends like every other person and enjoy the time to relax and spend with friends and family. Running and ultrarunning will still be in my life, but maybe once a month rather than every.single.week.

Life is all about balance, and hopefully one day I’ll find one.


Giving Back to the Running Community

I’m so excited to have my first ever race volunteering experience. Tomorrow I will be helping out at aid station #1 at the Western Pacific Marathon put on by the company Brazen Racing. I’ve never had a chance to run at one of their events yet, but I’m looking forward to checking them out in the future. They specialize in trail races ranging from 5k to half-marathons, with a few marathon and ultra events thrown in during the year.

I think it’s so so so important to volunteer at races if you have the time. Especially if you’re a runner and racer yourself. Those cups of water you grab at a marathon? There’s a hand holding them. That PB&J you grabbed during that 50K? Someone toiled over a hot stove to make that for you. Or not. But they sure as heck made sure the ratio of PB to J was equal and you should be thankful for that.

Volunteers are also great at giving moral support, especially in smaller races where spectators are rare. In my first 50K, I remember feeling lightheaded and dizzy at around mile 20 or so. At the next aid station I came to, someone immediately noticed I was a little out of it and offered various solutions (salt tabs, eat eat eat, hydrate, take it slow) that helped me finish the race strong. To that person and to the many others who’ve given me water, Gu, potato chips, bandaids, and oranges, I’m forever grateful.

I just hope I’m this chipper at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning!

Gorgeous Run

Today I had a great mountain run. The distance: 9.25 miles. The time: 2 1/2 hours. Total elevation gain: at least 3000 ft. (<— um, someone help me set my Garmin to track elevation!)

I didn’t have a set plan as to how long I’d be out there, so I made sure to go prepared:

Last week I totaled out at 30 miles exactly. This week I’m hoping to do anything over 30. Since I took a day off on Monday, I knew today’s run should be at least 6 miles. I also knew that since I’d be tackling the Mountain, I’d be going pretty darn slow for the first half of my run. So I took enough water to last me about 4 hours give or take (you know, in case I decided to make it a loooong run. Or got lost and stranded). I also wanted to test out hydration methods for my upcoming TRT50. I’m liking the idea of a hydration pack (the cute blue backpack above) and one water bottle.

I also LOVE the new visor. I’m hoping that the people I pass on the mountain think I’m sponsored by Clif.

They probably think I’m just another weird dorky trail runner but I prefer to believe otherwise.

I hiked to the peak which took about 1 hour for 3 miles. The peak is at 2,500 ft and has a beautiful view of the East Bay.

This photo wasn’t from the top yet. There were hawks circling below which I obviously didn’t catch on the picture, but it was great. Made me feel like I was in the clouds.

View from the top!

(I obviously have to work on my photo editing skills but oh well.)

Once I reached the top I meandered out and back among the trails until it was time to descend. After a rocky hike down from the peak, it’s about 2.5 miles and 2000 ft all downhill to the parking lot. It’s SO FUN, and I feel like a little kid when I’m coasting down hill. I can’t completely let myself go though, because I’m prone to “eating it”, and I’d hate to be like the infamous Jill and tumble 2.5 miles down the hill.

All and all a great run.


Good LSD

Today I had a good long, slow, distance run. It wasn’t too long, and it was very slow, but I’ll take what I can get.









I’m surprised that I’m never approached to do run-modeling. Weird.

Today’s run was nice. It went by smoothly, and I wasn’t pushing it so didn’t set myself up for disappointment. I am still a little sore from my mountain run on Tuesday and the gym yesterday, so we’ll see how the rest of the week pans out. I’m guessing I’ll hit about 30 miles by Sunday, and then slowly being ramping it up in the following weeks.

I got a super-awesome package in the mail yesterday! A few weeks back I won a great prize package from the blog irunfar.com and it included quite a ridiculous amount of schwag. (Is that how you spell schwag??)

Some of the goodies:

This is just a fraction of the stuff from Clif. The rest wouldn't fit into the photo.

That's my mom in the background. She's always trying to find a way to get a photo op on my blog.

I’m definitely interested in trying Udo’s Oil. I like the idea of natural supplements. Plus, Geoff Roes and Scott Jurek use it, which means that if I use it, there’s a pretty good chance I’ll win Western States next year.

If not, I can always fall back on modeling.


There is more stuff coming as well: shoes, sunglasses, and running clothes. I’ll be sure to post pics when the rest of the gear comes in so you can all be jealous of my AWESOME trail running duds. Thanks Bryon Powell!!

Tomorrow I’m going for a run with my brother. I’m really hoping his 31 year old bones can keep up with me.



Yesterday I ran for the first time since my 50 mile race a week ago. I’ve had a lot of energy this week and have been itching to run, but I had no idea how my legs would react. They’ve been a little achy all week and I have NOT been a good little girl with icing, stretching, and rolling :(

Rather than have a set distance, I just ran out the house and decided to see how I felt.

Bike path near my parents' house. It was a beautiful day yesterday!

I had so much energy, but knew I wouldn’t last on a long run, so I decided to do my own little speed workout. Pretty much ran at med- to high- intensity for as long as possible, then walked to catch my breath. And repeat. Pretty scientific, no?

I also took a picture of myself running, but it’s waaay to bad to put up, which is saying a lot. I’ve posted some pretty darned ugly photos before.

Instead, here’s a different running photo (last time I promise):

So serious! Hahaha.

So this week will be my first week “back” in training. The rough plan is to put in 30 miles this week, and 40 the next, and then follow one of the training plans from Relentless Forward Progress. I am going to play it by ear this week since I’m still not sure how my legs are recovering. Note to self: ICE, STRECH, AND ROLL OUT MUSCLES!!! DON’T BE STOOPID AND THINK YOU’LL RECOVERY EASILY!!

On a side note, my life has become a little less aimless as of late. I found out last week that I passed my CSET. For those of you who don’t know, the CSET is the California Subject Exam for Teachers. Since I want to teach high school English, I had to pass 4 subtests despite the fact that I have a B.A. in English. Since I was pretty cocky and didn’t study (um, kinda like how I didn’t train for AR50…), it took me 3 times to pass the last subtest. But I passed, finally, and that’s all that matters to me. What this means is that I’ll be back in school this fall, to student teach for 2 semesters. And in a little over a year, I’ll *hopefully* have my Teaching Credential. Yay! This means that if all goes well, I’ll FINALLY be an adult just months shy of my 30th birthday.

What this also means is that it’s back to work for me! I’m still pursuing getting a personal training certification (from ACE), because I want to have the knowledge as well as the possibility of training in the future. So until school resumes, it looks like I’ll be training part time, studying part time, and back at good ol’ ZombieRunner part time. So if any of y’all have shoe/gear/nutrition/compression/insole/headlamp/etc. questions, I’m your running gear expert! Feel free to comment or email me questions regarding gear anytime.


Goal #2: Train HARDER and SMARTER

This Saturday is my first 50 mile race. The American River 50 mile endurance run is what experienced ultrarunners consider an “easy 50.” The first 25 miles or so take place on a relatively flat bike path, and the rest is on trails, with mild changes in elevation until the last 3 miles.

Elevation Profile


For some silly reason, I was unintimidated by this course and kept thinking, Oh, easy 50! I can do it in 10 hours, no problem. What the heck is wrong with me?? My training consisted of taking it easy when my knee hurt, when I had a cold, and when I could think of any other excuse. And now, I’m FREAKING out! I’ve been a procrastinator my whole life (some of my best papers in college were written the night before), but training for a 50 mile race is NOT something you can cram in at the last minute.

This being said, I can only hope/pray/beg for the best this Saturday. I can also make sure not to make this mistake again. I’ve already signed up for my next race, the Tahoe Rim Trail 50 mile endurance run, which will take place in July. The elevation chart for that race looks like this:



Notice how the start line is at an elevation of 7000 ft. So not only do I have to deal with 6,895 ft of TOTAL elevation gain (which is about twice as much as I’ll be climbing this Saturday), but I’ll have to do it at altitude!! So you can see why I’m already freaking out for this race too.

A few weeks back I bought a book on my kindle called Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons, by Bryon Powell. (He has a great blog, irunfar.com, that you should check out!) It gives a lot of useful advice and covers pretty much everything you’ll need to know about ultrarunning, including how to tactfully pee in the woods. He also includes several training plans, which I am ACTUALLY going to use this next time around!

The one on the left goes up to 50 miles/week and the one on the right goes up to about 70 miles/week. Ideally, I’d like to follow the plan on the right, and default to the plan on the left when I need a break. Obviously I don’t have 24 weeks to prepare (the Tahoe Rim Trail run–TRT50–is on July 21), so I will have to start somewhere in the middle of the plan. I’ll figure out the logistics after I get past the AR50.

Basically, for Goal #2 I plan on following the training plan and consistently hitting the weekly mileage and long run mileage. I also plan on resting when it says REST, because sometimes that’s what my body needs! And I also hope to incorporate some cross training and strength training to keep those joints healthy and muscles in balance. And as boring as it might be for you guys, I’ll blog about it so I can keep myself in check.

So, how am I doing on my eating healthy goal? Well, Tony and I made this amazing catfish dish last night.

Wild rice, caesar salad with light dressing, and catfish: coated in cooking spray, sprinkled with lowfat cheddar and crumbled Chex cereal. This has been our go-to healthy meal for the last few weeks. We change up the fish and type of salad, cuz we’re crazy like that.

I’ve also kept up a promise I made to myself: no froyo until after the AR50. It’s been almost 2 weeks and I’ve started having hallucinations that look like this:


Anyone have any go-to healthy meals that are easy to prepare? I hate fish but eat it because it’s healthy. I usually have to douse it in seasoning/sauce/cheesyChex to get it down the gullet.