2015 in 5 lessons

 

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2015 STATS:
2,850 miles run
420h 20m spent running
264,573 feet climbed
409 runs
PRs in the 10k, half marathon, marathon, and 50k

2015 was a year of learning experiences for me. I didn’t have as many of those magic “easy” races, the ones where everything just clicks, as I did last year. And while everyone loves those good times, it’s the tough ones that are more valuable: they teach me things and keep me motivated to fight on. So instead of doing a “highlights reel” (of which there were many!) I’m going to give you the top five lessons I learned this year. Continue reading

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Fifty Miles: a post-mortem.

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One year ago I started this blog to document one of the greatest running events I’ve ever been a part of. I was venturing into the unknown, pushing my limits another 24 miles past what I knew I could achieve. It was magic. On Saturday I competed in the same event for a second time, and it was… anticlimactic. Don’t get me wrong. This was an amazing experience and I was smiling ear to ear for almost all of the nine hours I was moving. Everything went off without a hitch. No nutrition drama. No major falls or injury. I didn’t even get stung by wasps like many others did. The women’s field was so competitive that I had no shot at even placing top 20. And that’s okay. Not every race has to be an epic fight to the finish or record breaker. My body and mind allowed me to cover 50 of the most beautiful miles in all of the world. I got to share my backyard with some of the best ultra runners in the country. I experienced one of the most vibrant sunrises I’ve ever seen. All while doing something I love passionately.

So this won’t be the typical mile-by-mile race report. Think of it more like a post mortem. What worked. What didn’t. What I’d do differently. Why I can’t wait to try this distance again. Continue reading

50 Miles: the ultimate playlist

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Music is an incredibly personal choice. Finding a beat or lyrics that motivate and make you momentarily forget about how badly your legs are burning can be the difference between fading out or pushing just a little bit harder. Science even says so. 

I don’t listen to music when I race. I never have, and most road races discourage headphones due to safety reasons. On the road I’m usually pushing myself hard enough that if I take my focus away from my pace, I start to slow. Ultras are a different beast. Pace is much slower and totally varied based on terrain. There’s a good chance you will be the only person around for miles on end. It can get pretty lonely, and after running for 6 hours my brain starts to run out of things to think about. I can only talk to so many bunnies before I begin questioning my sanity. Continue reading

Trail Running 101, part 1

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Trail running: it’s just like road running but on dirt, right?

I wish it were that simple. The trails are a different beast. When you are dealing with nature there’s a lot more that can go wrong. But, in my opinion, you get so much more in return from the trails versus roads. I’m here to give you a primer on how to survive (and thrive!) without getting run over by a mountain biker or eaten by a snake. This is part one of a series I’ll be writing in collaboration with my MoveWith Trail Running 101 class. Let us start with how to behave on the trails… Continue reading

Pro Tip in Pictures: Handheld Bottles

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I hate running with anything in my hand (mostly because my arm gets tired and it reminds me how weak my upper body is). But buying the right handheld bottle can make all the difference on the annoyance scale. Look for a bottle with a wide cinching strap, like the Nathan bottle on the left. Try it on, pull it tight, and violently shake your hand around. Does it come loose or fly off, narrowly missing someone’s head? If so, you probably grabbed a bottle with a narrow strap, like the one on the right.

The less energy you have to put into holding onto your bottle or re-tightening the strap, the more energy you can channel into trashing your quads on that next downhill.

Bonus: the bottle will protect your hand if you ever dive headfirst into the trail. I may or may not have firsthand experience with this.

Headlands 50k training update

Pirates Cove comes just a few miles into the 50k

Pirates Cove comes just a few miles into the 50k

On August 29th I’ll be running my first 50k race. You know what that means? Automatic PR. Yessss! I’ve changed my training fairly significantly for this race, so here’s a little rundown.

After Boston I was burned out big time- mentally and physically. Training for a road marathon with a very specific, aggressive goal is all-consuming for four months. And then when the race doesn’t go exactly like you hoped, there is major disappointment. Looking back now I know I ran the best race I could under really shitty conditions, but I was in a big funk for a while. The remedy for the post-marathon blues took me to the trails. I was so relieved to be back under the redwoods. No concern for hitting 6:50 pace, or taking an extra long water break, or any of the other pressures I put on myself. I was having fun again.

In the months leading up to my next race, the Tamalpa Headlands 50k, I’ve been focusing on three of my weakest areas: strength, hill climbing, and “easy” runs. Continue reading