Goal #1: Eat more healthfully and mindfully

Since there are a lot of goals I have for myself, I thought I’d spend this week addressing my goals one day at a time. Hopefully putting my goals out there will help me stay accountable. That’s why everyone starts a blog, right?

So goal #1 is COMPLETELY BORING AND UNORIGINAL, but something that needs to be done: eat more healthfully and mindfully.

The most common fallacy of runners is that we think we can eat as much as we want. Even those of us who are somewhat aware of eating healthfully get caught up in the excitement that yes, we just ran 10 miles so we can have that ice cream/oreo/juicy burger/extra ranch on everything/etc. Or beer. Who doesn’t like beer??

I sure do. And it’s ok to drink it. Just not a 6 pack a day. If you drink enough to make a beer-amid, you’ve drank too much for the day.

I guess we were too drunk to make a taller beeramid. Best light beer ever BTW

Enough with the beer photos. You know that saying, “Don’t live to eat, eat to live”? Well, I’d like to do both, but with healthfulness in mind. It’s a hard thing to do, to find that right balance. I definitely LOVE to be able to eat yummy things and I’m proud of the fact that I have a strong and lean body, but I also know that there is room for improvement. I’m sure that at mile 48 this Saturday I’ll be saying to myself WHY??? did I eat all those Oreos?? Why?? Why didn’t I eat more yummy, healthy salads (like this one)?

So the moral of this post is not for me to start obsessing about food. I’ve been there and it’s not fun and it makes me grumpy. Rather, it’s to try to make smarter choices. Or at least ask myself this question: Is it worth it? And for sure, sometimes it is :)

Oh, and to try try tryyy to only eat cupcakes and cake on birthdays!


Today I had an AWESOME ten mile trail run. The wind was at my back for the last 5 miles, the birds were chirping, there wasn’t too much animal poop on the ground, and I was flying! After the run, I thought to myself, I could sure as shoot run another 40 miles! <–Ok not quite true. But it was still a great run. It also helped solidify some logistics decisions for me for my upcoming 50 mile race. One, I will be carrying my water bottles rather than using a hydration pack:

No, I won't carrying them both in one hand. I just needed my right to take the picture, silly.

I ran the whole 10 miles carrying these babies and by the end I barely noticed they were there. I’m sure it’ll get annoying after 50 miles, and I might drop one off mid-race, but we’ll see. I’ve been doing push-ups and although I don’t have arms like Madonna (nor do I want arms like that!!), I have been getting stronger.

Next, I’ve decided which shoes I’m going to wear:

I’ve worn Saucony Guides for 3 different models. This is their newest, the Guide 5. I had switched to minimal shoes for awhile, and I think the combination of no support/no cushioning/increase in mileage has caused knee pain. So the Guide 5 is a great compromise. It is by no means minimal, but it is lightweight and has a more natural drop (8mm) than “traditional running shoes”. Although I’ve enjoyed running in Vibram Five Fingers, and other minimal models, I know I can run long in these babies and am sure I’ll appreciate the cushioning after 30 miles on pavement. Now my only decision is whether or not to change shoes for the last 20 miles, which will be on trails. I’m guessing this decision will be made mid-race because I’m CRAZY like that. :)

So this is how happy I am after my run! Faaaar from cute, but not as ugly as when I’m pouting. One of these days I’ll have to take a normal picture to prove to you all I don’t always have a weird looking face.


How’d you all enjoy your Sunday??

The 10 miles that turned into 2

Today was supposed to be my last “long” run to prepare for AR50. The plan I was loosely following said to do 10 today, 5 tomorrow, then pretty much just a few shake-out miles during the week. (That’s cool running lingo for easy paced 2-6ish mile runs.) So off I went to my parents house to use their treadmill (it was raining!! and I needed to steal toilet paper). Unfortunately, after 2 miles I got some &*$%#^@!! pain in my left knee. Rather than push through as I normally would, I finished my run, and did some cycling and walking instead.

I remember the first couple marathons I ran, I freaked out the week before. I worried that I hadn’t trained enough (which was true, I’m a slacker), that I wasn’t going to make it, that I’d get injured, that I’d fall (which has only happened 3 times during races), or that I’d faint and get trampled by the crowd of 3 that were behind me. Eventually, I became more confident and knew that whether or not I’d get a good time, I knew I could finish the race.

This time, however, I’m attempting a distance I haven’t even come close to running. The time limit for this race is to run 50 miles in under 13 hours. Taking my worst marathon and worst 50 K time, it would take me about 12 hours and 15 minutes to finish 57 miles. That means I’m golden, right??

So, this week will be spent NOT running, for the sake of my knees. It will also be spent trying NOT to freak out with anxiety. I swear, I will never ever ever NEVER NEVER take my knees for granted if they can get me through 50 miles next Saturday!

Nothing is uglier than a pouty, sweaty 28 year old

I <3 u knees and will never take you for granted!! You complete me!

My Goals, and One for Today

Someday soon, I’m going to do a post regarding my life goals and running goals. It’ll be serious, and it’ll be something I’ll hold myself accountable for. Putting it out there will be my inspiration to get a move on and attack my goals with vigor. However, today is not that day.

Today, my goal is to do NOTHING.








I plan on sitting here, watching trash TV, and bumbling around on my computer. Oh, and failing trying to take flattering pictures of myself. (Do you see that toenail?)

I know you think it’s probably easy for me to do nothing but it’s not. Whenever I have a “day off” from running, I usually end up heading to the gym and doing a variation of the following workout: bike for an hour, walk at incline for a mile or so, rowing machine for 10-20 minutes, 60 girl style push-ups and 120 crunches. That’s my “day off”. Then the next day I’m all, “why am I sore?? I didn’t run yesterday!” I’m one of those snobby running purists who thinks that running is the end-all be-all of exercise. I tend to think that just because I’m not running that I’m not getting in a quality workout or not really exercising. I’m starting to learn that this is not true, and realizing that an occasional day off from everything will improve my running in the long run (ha! I said run twice).

So today, with a little over a week from my first 50 mile run, I am going to do absolutely nothing. And it will be more challenging than you think.

Black Toenail and Family History

How did I get this from a sock??
I know it’s gross. I know what you’re thinking: Why would you upload a picture of your nasty black toenail?? That’s mean! I just lost my breakfast. We’ll, it is my blog and I can post what I want, so there. And really, who else do you know gets black toenails from socks?!? I always make sure to buy my shoes a couple sizes bigger to give my funky toes ample room. However, on St. Patty’s day I made the mistake of wearing some Injini’s that were just a little too small and this one little piggy got a black eye.

Let me give you a little history of myself. I’m a klutz and find weird ways to injure myself. There is a saying in my family that one “pulls a Megan” when they spill something, fall, break something, or anything else that might fall into the category of being clumsy. It’s not all my fault though. This klutziness/bad luck with weird injuries goes waaay back one generation to my dad. Pop is famous (in our family of 4) for cracking his skull open 5 different times. In no particular order: He fell while ice skating. He fell out of a tree. A tricycle fell on his head. A kid hit him on the head with a metal hoe. He had a race to the fireplace with his sister and his head won. (My mom is fairly coordinated. There was just one incident when she collided with a tree while skiing. Don’t worry, she wasn’t hurt because she was going 2mph.)

So anyways, that’s how I came to be my coordinated self. A little personal history: I broke my collarbone being born. It could’ve been because I was a ginormous baby and my mom is tiny, but I think that must have been my first klutzy moment and I somehow did it to myself. Another time, I gave myself a fat lip with and ice cube. I had made them in plastic cups. While squeezing the cup to get it out, I managed to shoot it at my face. Then there was the time I sliced my finger open with a plastic butter knife.

Then there was the time in Puerto Rico when Tony and I got coordinated jellyfish stings:


Don’t ask Tony about this incident. It’s still a sore subject with him. In a nutshell, I got stung and started freaking out in the water. Tony thought I was drowning and came over to save me. In the end it was Tony and Megan: 0, Jellyfish: 2

I know this post went off on a random tangent but what can I say. I’m “aimless”, and it’s MY blog! Plus, I’m a little preoccupied with my toe; I am not sure how it’ll look next week, and I’d hate for my toenail to fall off in the middle of a 50 mile run. For all those who are curious, I’ll post another picture after the race. Until then, I’ll stick to happy photos like this: 

Reflection of the day: What’s the weirdest way you’ve been hurt? I bet you can’t beat fat lip by ice cube.

Why Do I Run??

The other day I came across a fabulous blog about weight loss and healthy eating called Can You Stay for Dinner? The writer is a fabulous young woman who managed to lose 135 lbs. and maintain the loss for the last few years. She writes eloquently and candidly about her weight-loss journey, and has such a healthy outlook on moderation that is rare in someone who has lost so much weight. Overall, her website is inspiring and her recipe photos are mouth-watering. Oh, and she has a great page called, “What I miss from 135 lbs ago.” No one ever talks about actually missing eating past the point of no return! As a former (occasional) overeater, that part really resonated with me.

There is another page where she writes about her exercise history. She says how exercise spurred the weight loss but felt torturous at times.

I hated running. It was no longer fun. I no longer felt accomplished or rejuvenated or energized after I stepped off the treadmill.

Running became something she dreaded, yet had to do for fear that she’d return to her former obese self. When she developed sciatica, she braced herself for weight gain but found that it was a “blessing in disguise” after she discovered she could maintain the enormous loss without beating herself up physically.

While I can’t sum up her blog in a paragraph, I really appreciated her overall attitude. She really made me think about the reasons I run. After some thought on the subject, I’ve made the following conclusions:

1. I run for the pure joy of it, for the challenge, for the sense of accomplishment, for the adrenaline rush.

2. I run to punish myself, to maintain my shape, to lose the last 5-10 pounds that never seem to go away.

3. I run in anticipation of ice cream, Oreos, wine and beer, swimsuit season…

4. I run because I feel like it’s a part of my identity and if I ever stopped, I might lose the one part of me that makes me special.

There are times when I don’t want to run but feel guilty if I don’t. I’m afraid of gaining weight–I’m afraid my appetite will get out of control and I’ll steadily gain weight even though I’ve never been overweight and it’s not in my genes. It is these times when I probably shouldn’t run. Running shouldn’t be something I force myself to do (unless of course I’m in training!). It should be something I do for positive reasons rather than negative.

All in all, I should never run out of fear, unless someone’s chasing me. :)

Why do you run??

My Crew

I have an entourage that I take with me when I race. Sometimes only two members can make it, sometimes more. I am so grateful that for my upcoming race, the AR50, 5.5 members of my crew will be there. The following is an introduction to the members of my crew:

She's the one on the right!

Mom a.k.a. Team Mother/Team Medic (Primary) She’s pretty much the president of my entourage/crew. She gives the orders, books the hotels, and makes sure everyone has packed their underwear. She’s also the go-to gal for tissues, chapstick, granola bars, you name it. On top of that, she’s a doctor, so she gives me doctorly advice, like “ice!” and pushes Ibuprofen accordingly.

Pop a.k.a. Paparazzi/Team Medic (Secondary) My dad is the family paparazzi. I don’t say photographer, because photographers don’t get pictures of you picking your nose/wedgie. He says about 5% of his pictures are publishable. Thank goodness he doesn’t have facebook. He’s also the second doctor in the family and provides pretty good on-call medical service.

Jason a.k.a. Weird Face Maker/Occasional Training Partner/Running Advisor This is my brother Jason. He’s always making weird faces to disguise the fact that I got the good genes and not him. Having ran 8 marathons, several halves, and several relays, he’s the guy I sometimes ask for running or racing advice. We also go on runs together occasionally, and he helps increase my speed because he has to be one step ahead at all times, and I’m always trying to catch up.

She's the pretty one. Not the weirdo in blue.

Meg a.k.a. Team Cheerleader Meg is super cool because she’s so thoughtful. At the finish line of the Napa Valley Marathon, she gave me a box of Samoas with a ribbon and a card. She’s also the biggest cheerer and a fabulous sign maker. I was running the Nike Women’s Marathon and jealously wishing I had a sign when I rounded the corner and saw this poster. Thanks Meg! Conveniently, we have the same name so if she ever runs a race I plan on asking her if I can borrow it.

Tony a.k.a Amateur Videographer/Cheesy Saying Guy/Partner in Crime Tony’s the main squeeze and he makes it to almost all my races. Like Pop, he’s a fan of embarrassing me with running videos. Unfortunately, he has facebook. He’s also a fan of motivational musings like, “life is a beautiful struggle” and such. Sometimes I think that if I didn’t love him so much, I’d punch him in the face when he says stuff like that. But he has such a pretty face so, no can do. He’s also always game to carbo-load with me pre race and strongly encourages my ice cream/candy/frozen yogurt habit.

Gus a.k.a The .5 This little guy is Jason and Meg’s puppy. He’s new to the family and will probably be coming around to more and more races. He’s super cute and super portable. Unfortunately, he’s cuter than me so sometimes he gets more attention from spectators. But that’s ok, it’s not his fault.

Gus’s brother Satchel would love to join the crew, but sometimes his social schedule gets in the way.

He’s also the size of a small horse so doesn’t fit into one’s lap for the car ride there. He’ll be left behind for this upcoming race. I think he pretended he was busy so he could have the house to himself while mom, dad, and .5 were away. See that wood floor? Risky Business all the way.


Who’s in YOUR crew?



The Queen of the Taper

Since AR50 is in a little over two weeks I’ve been in “taper” mode. Tapering is when you decrease your mileage to recover and save your legs in time for an endurance event. This is usually my forte. In fact, when it comes to the taper I’m somewhat of an overachiever. I like to start early and taper hard. Sometimes I supplement my taper regimen with carbs such as ice cream and Oreos. It’s the best part of training and the one thing I’m excellent at.

There's always a good reason to have ice cream.

I’ve been looooosely following a training plan for these last few weeks to get an idea of how much I should run at the most. Since I didn’t follow this plan for the previous months of training though, I’m conflicted as to whether I need to taper as much or not. But my motto is when in doubt, do less.

That being said, today I ran 8.85 miles. This is more than the  7 miles suggested in the plan, but I figured there’s no way that I’m running 18 miles on Saturday so I might as well do what I can. As you can see, I’m not strict when it comes to following plans.

Sheep again! But they were less hostile this time.

No, this was not taken by a professional with a wind machine. It was just me and the wind. Hard to believe, huh?








My next race after the AR50 will be the Tahoe Rim Trail Run which is another 50 mile endurance run. This one’ll be a doozy though. The net elevation gain is something like 9,000 feet, and the race takes place at altitude. Considering I’ve been sucking air on my short runs and walking quite a bit on my long runs, it looks like it’s time to buckle down for some SERIOUS training after AR50. Starting around then, I’m gonna log my miles/workouts for the world to see.

To anyone out there who reads my blog (anyone there? anyone?? and not you, Mom) : Do you use a training plan when preparing for a race? What are the pros and cons? What is your favorite part of training?


And it can only get better!

So it looks like a chose the one sport where one can only improve with age. I’ve read articles in Runners World and other fitness magazines about how the body ages and how this affects fitness. The general consensus is that being fit helps the aging process, but at a certain point one can expect her fitness to only decline. Women who were setting records in high school and college can expect that while they can continue to run, they won’t ever reach the fitness they were at their peak in youth.

Ultrarunning, however, is a different story. Speed and power is not necessarily an asset. This morning I was alerted to the fact that I’m in first place for my age group in Coastal Trail Runs Trail Blazer standings. Now don’t get me wrong. The only reason I have so many points is because I’ve done 3 50K’s this year to train for AR50. I’m the slowest in my age group by far. But looking at the results from this page and looking at the various results from the past races I’ve noticed that the majority of women and men who run ultra distances (over 26.2 miles at at time) are over 30. The woman who won the Canyon Meadow 50K ran it 2 hours faster than me and happens to be more than 20 years my senior. While it’s true that she might have been a real speed demon in her youth, she’s still winning races in her middle age. Amazing!

So I’m inspired. I’ve set the bar pretty low as a runner and I know that if I work harder and am persistent, I can improve with age and haven’t reached my full potential yet.

Here’s what Tony can look forward to in a few decades:

What a babe ;)

I can do better

Have you ever had a moment when you think, “I can do better?” It’s like, when you first start running you’re so proud of running one mile without stopping. Then three. Then five. And so on. And then you’re proud when you run a mile under 10 or 9 or however many minutes. You sign up for your first race- 5k, half marathon, marathon- and are SO proud when you cross the finish line. Then, at some point, you don’t stop being proud, per se, but you realize that what you’ve just completed isn’t good enough. That you can do better.

I had one of those moments this last Saturday. I ran the Canyon Meadow 50K trail run in Oakland. I finished with a time of 7:25. I remember being proud that I finished, but thinking I could’ve gone MUCH faster if I weren’t wading in 2 feet of mud for most of the race. Then a funny thing happened. I realized that I ALWAYS make excuses for myself. There’s always SOMETHING that prevents me from being the best I could be. Instead of settling for being a mediocre runner, maybe I can aim for something a little higher. Since it’s too late to train for AR50 (which is in less than 3 weeks), I’m planning on summoning my inner Rocky and training with intensity for the Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance 50 Mile in July. Here are my plans:

-Aim to get a few 50-70 mile weeks

-Strength and cross train to help prevent my ol’ knees from breaking down

-Cut out junk miles and junk eating! This means miles and food that don’t have specific purpose, like running 2 miles when I could be resting or cross training. Or eating out of boredom. Does NOT mean cutting out junk food, because that always has a purpose. 😛

-Play Eye of the Tiger and run stairs in grey sweatsuit at least 3 times a week.

Some pictures from my lovely mud run this weekend:

I look funny because I didn't want anyone to see me taking a picture of myself. Or I'm just funny looking.

On a weird note: as I was running (ok walk/hobbling) the last 5 miles I saw a deer leg on the trail. Whaa??? Gross. Poor Bambi…

Top o' the marnin' to ya!

After I sprayed them down. Might have to say good-bye to them soon. And my toenail :(