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 Race Recap: Pre Race

The Tahoe Rim Trail 50 Miler was one of the most memorable experiences in my whole life. The day was filled with some pretty high highs and pretty low lows, but I never reached a point where I didn’t feel anything but lucky and blessed to be there. This race report will probably be random, and aimless, but that’s my blog theme, right?? So read as much as you want, and leave when you get bored :). I won’t be offended.

Tony and I drove up to Tahoe (from the Bay Area) on Wednesday afternoon. I was hoping to acclimate to the altitude as much as possible for the race. When I tried to google info on acclimating, I got a variety of results, but the consensus seemed to be that to truly acclimate, I’d have to spend 2 or more weeks at altitude. Since I didn’t have that kind of time or money, and since Tahoe is “altitude lite”, I decided to head up 2 days before and hope for the best.

Man, can I just say I have the best boyfriend in the world? I was a raging…well, I don’t like to curse, but you can guess what I was the days before the race. I was nervous, on edge, and very passive aggressive about inconsequential things. I knew I was being a B, but I couldn’t stop myself! Poor Tony… we can only hope that one day I’ll tolerate pregnancy hormones better than taper nerves because I’m sure he’ll leave me if he has to deal with that again.

Nonetheless, we had some enjoyable moments. I was too scared to do anything fun like biking or kayaking, because I didn’t want to strain a muscle or fall. (In hindsight, it might’ve helped to enjoy and relax. Turns out I was not sore after the race which means I could’ve kicked back a little. Note for next year.) The only activity that was left was eating, and we did that in spades. There were many restaurants by our hotel that were right on the lake and we got to enjoy some gorgeous views and sunsets.

A summary of our days before the race:

The day before the race, I set out everything that I would need for the next day. I wanted to be prepared as possible, and if anything, have too many things that I could drop off rather than not have something that I needed and later regret it. Turns out there was one thing that I didn’t even think I needed, and not having it played a big part of my misery on race day.

Missing one vital piece of clothing. Hint: starts with “g” and ends with “aiters”. Rookie error #1

I also packed my drop bag with all the food that I might need at Tunnel Creek aid station. This aid station would be visited 3 times. (The course was like a 3 leaf clover, the leaves being the loops. Each loop ended at Tunnel Creek, and the bottom of the stem was the start and finish of the race.)

Rookie error #2 here

See all that food there? None of it got eaten. Yes, everything made me nauseous, and my limited intake of calories was another thing that would doom me the next day. For my next race, this photo will show bags of potato chips, salted nuts, and chicken/turkey and cheese wraps. LESSON LEARNED.

The few things that went well were my shoes,

the Saucony Xodus 3.0, which got me up Diamond Peak, the 2 mile uphill with a 30% incline almost the entire way. Also helpful were my Nathan Intensity hydration pack and my Amphipod handheld water bottle.

Staying hydrated was the one thing I did right during this race.

The night before the race, we went out and had a nice, late dinner. We got back to the hotel and around 9 or so and I was fast asleep at 10:30. I woke up at 3:15 am with energy, ready to tackle the day.

Just a little run around Tahoe. No big deal :)

to be continued…

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.

Old News

If you’ve been following my story for awhile, you’ve read about my crew. Unfortunately, 2.5 members of my crew decided that a 50 mile race was old news and that if they’ve seen one, they’ve seen ’em all.

Just kidding. They are tending to important matters.

Here’s who will be missing in action:

This guy

My personal photographer is tending to some important business. He will be missed. While I’m sure he’d give anything to see me cross the finish line, I know he’s secretly relieved he doesn’t need to run me in to every aid station. At AR50, my dad would backtrack the course from the aid station to get shots of me running in. He probably ran a total of 15 miles that day, in jeans and flip flops. I think the elevation of this course intimidated him. Love you Pop! You’ll be at the next one. You know, the 100 mile one :)

This girl

My brother’s girlfriend Meg recently started a new and fabulous job. She works long hours and works very hard. While she deserves a vacation, maybe a vacation from my brother is the next best thing. (Ha! Just kidding bro.) I will definitely miss her cheering and posters.

This little guy

Gus will be perfecting the Upward Dog. He leads a stressful life and we’re thinking he should just spend the weekend relaxing. Maybe he’ll get a chance to go on a date. I know the perfect gal…

I am so grateful that I’ll have my mother, brother, and bestfriendpartnerforlifeballandchain with me during the race. There are less crew-access aid stations so less for them to see. Fortunately Tahoe is filled with gorgeous views so hopefully they’ll enjoy nature’s beauty while I’m out there running.

2 and a half days till TRT

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. 😉

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. :)