The Perfect Run

Have you ever had a run or a race that was just perfect? When everything fell into place, and you felt so good and healthy and fast, and everything seemed right with the world.

Well, that was the OPPOSITE of today.

I was planning on doing a 15-20 mile run on the mountain near my house. I made it less than halfway to the peak before I felt like I was going to vomit. I usually don’t have trouble mentally pushing myself, but this time I thought that maybe my body needed a break for some reason.

Here are my thoughts about my run-fail and what might have gone wrong:

-Three 40+ mile weeks in a row. Not a lot for most ultrarunners, but the highest mileage I’ve ever done. I do fairly well on low mileage, but I’ve been trying ramp it up and peak at 50-60 miles a week in June. Maybe it’s time for a “rest” week, and then push hard for another 3 weeks.

-Not eating enough/eating too much/eating the wrong things. I have stomach issues, but usually just push through. Now, since I’m more active than ever, I should probably pay more attention to what I eat and how it makes me feel. While I felt nauseous going up the mountain, I felt light-headed and weak on the way down. So something with my fueling isn’t right.

-Weather and hydration. Today is a hot day. Not superhot, but warmer than the last few times I ran long. Maybe I need to hydrate better before leaving? I’ve never seemed to have a problem with heat before, but there’s a first time for everything, and it’s important to consider all the possibilities.

Bad luck shoes. I wore the Mountain Masochist 2’s today. They’re from Montrail, and SO COMFORTABLE! They were great on the downhills and felt awesome on my feet–pillowy but with good ground feedback. A little big, but I’m thinking of ordering a smaller pair since they might be the shoes I wear in Tahoe. However, they have bad juju. The last time I had a run-fail at the mountain, I was wearing these shoes. In fact, I’ve only worn them twice, and both times were not good. I’m conflicted, because I love the shoes! So my mission is to break the bad juju curse. Or order a smaller, less bad-lucky pair.

Maybe I should have sucked it up and did 15 miles?? I don’t know. Sometimes I push myself too hard and it ends up hurting me in the long run. (<—haha. accidental pun.) Sidelined for a month with an easily preventable injury. Ran a 50K while sick and stayed sick for a month. You get the picture.

This sums up my run:

So I’m going to chalk it up to the world conspiring against me. Tomorrow will be a rest day, and Saturday it’s back in the saddle again.

Time to turn that frown upside-down!!!!!!!!!




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.

Good Saturday

Last weekend was a good weekend. I had a very enjoyable Saturday which I spent with the ol’ ball and chain. I dragged him out to volunteer at a race with me and although I’m sure he was silently cursing me out at 5:45 am, he ended up having a lot of fun.

The race took place up in Skyline (in Palo Alto, CA) and although we didn’t get to see much of the beautiful course, we did enjoy some great weather. Tony and I were helping out with parking while people arrived. It involved lots of flag pointing. At this point, Tony was probably wondering what the heck he got himself into and whether or not he could sneak the keys out of my pocket and drive away without me noticing.

Once everyone was parked, the race started. Tony and I had a little more flag-pointing to do to direct runners in the right direction to the trails. Fairly simple, but necessary. You’d be surprised how many people add or subtract to a course by going the wrong way.

Finally, when all the runners were off, we started setting up our aid station. The course had some out and backs, so we were set up near the finish line for the people who had to go back out again. It was the 13 mile point of the course–so the half-marathoners ran past us to the finish line, but the full-marathoners and 50K runners came to our aid station (instead of to the finish) and went back out again. We also saw the 50K runners one more time before (at their 26 mile point) before they headed out on a 5 mile loop before finishing.

Confused yet? Basically, we got to see people at all stages of their race and it was very fun and entertaining. We were also joined by a boy named Carl. Carl was 11 years old going on 45. His dad was running the marathon and Carl was waiting around for supplies to give his dad at the halfway point. We ended up adopting Carl for 6 hours and put him to work at our aid station. He was great at running ahead and grabbing water bottles from the runners to refill. He also discovered the race fuel of boiled potatoes dipped in salt, and made sure to offer this to every runner we saw. In between runners, when there was a little bit of a lull, we talked to Carl and tried to understand how this kid was only 11 years old. He seemed wise beyond his years and a little jaded from life already. It was only when the M&M’s got hot, and squished between his fingers when he picked them up, that he got excited and I began to believe he was really 11 and not Benjamin Button.

Overall, it was SO fun to volunteer and joke with the runners who felt up to talking with us. We would’ve stayed for the whole race had we not been hot and starving. (Aid station food is yummy until you watch all the dirty, sweaty runners put their hands in the food bowls.) We took our green hats and orange shirts, said good-bye to Wendell (of CTR), and promised to be back for future races.

Wendell seemed a little confused when we left without Carl. We told him we had met him here and he wasn’t ours. Although when I was driving away, I did check the back seat to make sure Carl wasn’t a stowaway. He seemed like a great and interesting kid, and was just as fascinated with us as we were with him. I’m sure his day with Megan and Tony was the best one of all his 45 years.

I love wearing orange parking vests :)

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.


Cinderella 50K

Disclaimer: I don’t do “race reports” in the typical sense. I don’t always remember details and definitely don’t take a lot of pictures when I’m running a race. This is just a summary of some random thoughts regarding this day. It is by no means thorough, but hopefully a little informative and a little entertaining :)

This weekend I ran the Cinderella 50K which took place at Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland.  It was a beautiful day and a beautiful course. The 50K course consisted of 3 loops: two 13.1 mile loops and one 4.8 mile loop. Loop courses are great but also suck at the same time. They’re great because you know you’ll have access to the bathroom before and twice during your race. No need to get poison ivy on your bum because you couldn’t hold it 7 hours. But loop courses suck because after each loop, other people are finishing. After the first loop, all the half marathoners drop off. “Woohoo!! Time for some BEER!” they yell. After the second loop, the marathoners finish. “Dang that was a long time to be out there!” they say, as you see them plop down in relief. And after the third loop, the five miles that take longer than any five miles you know, you are so relieved to be done! But no one else is there to celebrate with you.

Fortunately, Tony and his sister were there to pick me up at the finish so they cheered me on. There were also some marathoners who I had met on the course (and forgot their names! but they were super nice) who remembered my name and cheered me on the last few yards. It’s cool when people hang around after their race to cheer for us stragglers. (Or to enjoy a well earned beer. But at least they were there!)

Overall the course was pretty great. It was under shade for about 75% of the time which was good, since the temperature was in the 80s for most of the day. There were a few steep, steep climbs in the first two loops, but in general the course was very runnable. The bummer for me was that at the end of all 3 loops, there was a pretty rocky and steep downhill section. If you know me, you know I’m prone to falling. Fortunately, I’ve stayed upright for my last 3 ultra trail races so I take it as a good sign. But I’m still unsteady and not too confident on the downhills. I keep picturing my face meeting the rocks at an intense speed. And the moment I begin to feel confident and relax is the moment I stumble and almost trip. Reality check.

This race was a training run for me and it served its purpose well. I got the miles in for the week and got to practice a lot climbing and descending on some technical parts of the trail. Next up I will be participating in a training run for the Western States 100. I am NOT running the race, but the training runs are open to anyone. The Western States 100 is one of the most popular 100 mile trail races in the world. It’s one of the first ever 100 mile races and it’s been hyped up by many ultrarunning-celebs, most notably Dean Karnazes. Despite this, it still seems like a cool race. It has a lot of climbs and a LOT of descents. The race puts on a weekend of training runs which allows entrants and non-entrants to experience the course. I figure it will be a great experience for me to run a challenging course (or at least 30 miles of it) and rub elbows with some more experienced ultrarunners.  I will need all the training I can get to conquer TRT.

Since I didn’t take any pictures of the 50K course, here are some pictures of my outfit this weekend:

Anyone out there going to WS training camp???


Peer Pressure

I am not proud to say that I caved in to peer pressure yesterday. Actually, no one was pressuring me at all, but everyone else was doing it so I felt I had to do it to be cool.









I bought a running skirt. (Please don’t mind my horrible feet in the photos. I thought it better to cut out my morning face than cut out the feet.)

I’ve been seeing girls wearing them at races for years, and I never thought I could pull it off. But they look so cute so I thought I’d give one a try. I mean, I know I look like a sweaty mess when I’m running, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make an attempt at looking decent, right? It’s like putting lipstick on a pig or something. It’s the effort that counts.

Plus, my soccer shorts from high school were starting to wear out. New running gear was needed.

I’m considering wearing the skirt tomorrow. I’ll be running this:

cinderella trail runand it’s gonna be a hot one. I’m doing the 50K as a training run for my 50 miler in July. This means that I plan on running it and not racing it, so I’ll be taking it pretty easy. That being said, it’s probably not a good idea to be in 80 degree weather doing moderately intense exercise for more than 8 hours. usually underestimates the temperature in my experience. So I’m hoping to aim for a 6-7 hour finish, which means that I’ll have to put in more than the usual effort. Lots of sunscreen, lots of fluids, lots of skin showing, and hopefully no poison ivy on the course.

Wish me luck!


A Week in 6 Photos

Please enjoy:

1. There is a certain intersection on my drive home from work that is so beautiful at the right time of the day. The sun sets to the west, and to the east is a view of the bridge leading me to the other side of the bay. Water all over. Love it.


2. Another view I love. :)


3. & 4. We celebrated Mothers’ Day a week early since my mom will be out of town. Tony and I each had things to do so we drove over separately. Of course, we didn’t coordinate, and both brought dessert. Not a bad problem to have. 

5. The last shipment of my giveaway from came it. Shoes, an outfit, and 7 pairs of Drymax socks in my favorite style (lite trail)!!!!! This is on top of all this Clif products, sunglasses, and Udo’s Oil that I received previously. I’m forever grateful for this giveaway: it’s $900 of gear that I couldn’t have bought myself but will definitely use. Thanks again, Bryon Powell!


6. This month is boring so I’m reliving last month’s accomplishments :) Took this photo from the event’s photographer because I was too cheap to buy it. It’s not great quality, so maybe I’ll cave and buy it one day so when I’m 80 years old and still running ultras at a much slower pace, I’ll remember when I was young and spry.


To my family- Mom, Pop, Jason and most of all Tony: I love you all so much. I don’t always show it but I always feel it. I appreciate all that you’ve done for me and am thankful that you love me just the way I am. I am very blessed to have you all in my life.

To everyone reading: Appreciate those you have while you still have them. Live your life like you’ll die tomorrow. You probably won’t die but you definitely won’t regret living life to the fullest. Life is a precious gift–don’t take it for granted.

Volunteering @ Western Pacific

Last Saturday I volunteered at the Western Pacific Marathon/Half/10k/5k. Despite waking up at 5:30 and standing around in the sun for 8 or so hours without pay, I had a BLAST :)

The race took place at the Quarry Lakes in Fremont. It was a beautiful day already at 6 in the morning when I arrived at the park. I was quickly greeted by super friendly and organized race director Jasmin, of Brazen Racing. She assigned me to aid station #1 and introduced me to the other volunteers I’d be working with. We all gathered our gear (water, fruit, tent, first aid, cooler, etc.) and headed over to our spot which would be the first and last aid station for all the distances except for the 5k.

The great thing about this race was the variety. The 5k had a mix of super speedy people, walkers, and kids. (The female winner of the 5k was a 12 year old girl! Her time was 22 minutes I think. So cool!) The marathon had some serious runners as well as people who were there for their first marathon ever. It was also an official Boston Qualifier, so there were pacers throughout the course. (Funny thing though the pacers were always running by themselves…)

Overall, there were 1600 runners on the course so we were pretty busy for the first hour or so after the guns went off. (The start times were staggered in 15 minute increments: marathon, half, 10k, 5k).

That table full of water was refilled like, 5 times! All those water jugs underneath were gone 2 hours later. We had another table filled with all yummy goodies that people hit hard later in the day.

After the starts, we had a nice lull until the 10k, half, and marathoners looped back around. We were about a mile and a half from the finish. It was super entertaining watching people right before the end of their race, no matter the distance. Some people sped by us with determination on their faces (BQers probably). Others stopped, chatted, and hung out with the snacks. Some kept coming back to the table to stuff their faces with gummy bears and M&M’s, probably postponing that last mile and-a-half as long as they could. Overall, everyone was polite and super happy to see us. 

I stared longingly at all the runners all day long. I ended up getting a little antsy and went on an ice cream run with a fellow AS1er. (Aid Station #1er. Duh.) We jogged a mile to the finish, grabbed some IT’SIT’s, and jogged back to our station. Yes, I jogged on that path in those slippers. Yes, my feet were filthy by the end of the day.

All in all it was an awesome day. I love all things running and it was great to be surrounded by runners all day long. I’m often so consumed with my own running and my own training and my own racing that it was good to be a part of someone else’s race day for once. I will definitely do it again and I’m infinitely more thankful to those volunteers who come out and support the races that I run.

Speaking of races, I’m running this race on Saturday as a training run for my upcoming 50 miler. The longest I’ve run since American River 50 is 11 miles, so this race is gonna be a doozy! I’m just hoping to complete it in under 8 hours. And hopefully recover fast enough to be back at it on Monday.

To anyone out there who has volunteered for a race: THANK YOU!!!!!!!

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!