My Foundation Is Built And 50 Miler Training RUNdown Week : 4/29-5/5

Happy Humpday! It’s a nice transition to focus all of my attention solely on the trails. It’s certainly something that I’m not really great at, but that I enjoy. I got my last back-to-back long runs done yesterday (34 miles in 20 hours with 2,500’ elevation gain) and they felt pretty good! I’ve been focusing on engaging my glutes more and also strengthening them, since I will DEFINITELY need them to do my Mt. Washington Road Race next month!! Ekkk! I’m not sure what will be more challenging- Mt. Washington or my 50 miler. Ha. I’ve also been doing some heat-acclimating since I know it will be plenty warm this summer (but hopefully not for my races)! Monday & Tuesdays run were both in the low 60’s with not much cloud-cover. I’m looking forward to a nice break from running AND training after my 50 miler in just 17 DAYS?!? What!?

Last week I just listened to my body and didn’t hold myself to any sort of training schedule (for the most part). My FOUNDATION of my training has been built and now all that I’m doing is securing it for my upcoming races. There’s no need to do anything crazy at this point and that’s oddly satisfying. I think back to those training runs when I REALLY wanted to quit, wasn’t feeling it, or pushed through some crazy moments of doubt and am really proud of what I’ve already accomplished in 2019. I’ve been able to give myself more grace when I didn’t feel like running or hitting ‘x’ mileage and carried more gratitude with me on every run.

Monday, 4/29: 6 miles easy. 3 min slow run / 2 min walk in Eugene. The amount of trails that are present in Eugene was amazing and the views from this run did NOT disappoint. So glad we stayed within 1/3 mile of the trail (AND mile 14 of the marathon course)!!


Tuesday, 4/30: Rest day. Did a nice long ~5 mile walk along the ocean, but otherwise took the day off of any sort of exercise.

Wednesday, 5/1: 8.02 miles easy. 3 min run/ 2 min walk in Seaside, OR along the beach. Couldn’t ask for a better view and softer surface to run on than the ocean floor!


Thursday, 5/2: 12 miles easy. 4 min run/ 1 min walk in Portland, OR on the hotel treadmill before flying back to CO. I felt really comfortable on the treadmill and was going to go outside at one point to finish up my run, but just went with the flow and stayed comfy on the treadmill with a nice view of the traffic outside.


Friday, 5/3: 6.01 miles easy 10:43 721’ up. Back in CO in the mountains. I had fasting blood work done in the morning, so decided just a few super easy miles were the best idea since I didn’t feel the best post-blood draw.


Saturday, 5/4: 6.26 miles easy 9:40 150’ up. Some easy miles before seeing the Avengers movie!


Sunday, 5/5: Rest day. Did an afternoon hike, but otherwise took the day off and felt 0% guilty about that.


Total Mileage: 38.31 miles

Total Elevation: 1, 049’ up

Eugene Marathon/ 50 Miler Training RUNdown Week 6: 1/28-2/3

Happy Humpday! Another week almost halfway gone ; ) Last week was a recovery/rest week (I’m blending together a plan from this book and this one for both my marathon goals (sub 3:40!) and to complete my first 50 miler)- the recovery week is built into the Ultra Training and I’m all for it to help my muscles recover after the last few weeks of high mileage/ long back-to-back runs and then it will also help sustain me (mentally) for the next few months of training. I did do one hard workout (marathon training schedule)- with 7 goal marathon paced miles, but then everything else was super easy or else just lots of sleep/rest/yoga/ cross training. It was exactly what I needed to feel rejuvenated for the next 3 weeks before I get my next one!

Monday, 1/28: REST DAY! Wanted to swim, but I forgot something very important when you want to swim (AKA my swimsuit). Did some nice yoga to stretch out at the end of the day.

Tuesday, 1/29: 1.5 mi warm-up/ 7 miles at goal marathon effort (8:23)/ 1.5 mi cool down & 30 minutes of strength. My legs felt absolutely terrible at the beginning of this run and I got on the treadmill that feels “off” so I’m super happy to have mentally pushed through it!


Wednesday, 1/30: REST DAY! Yoga using this video. One of my favorites!

Thursday, 1/31: 5.31 miles easy to finish out January!


Friday, 2/1: 3/4 mile swim!


Saturday, 2/2: 8 miles easy with 446’ up at 9:55 pace & recovery yoga


Sunday, 2/3: 7 miles easy in crazy wind, but warmth! Strength afterwards


Total Mileage: 30.35 for recovery week!

Total Elevation gain: 1,534’ up


What are you training for right now?

Favorite run of the week? —> I’m really loving the challenge (both mental and physical) of goal marathon paced miles. After I finish those runs, I feel INVINCIBLE!

Eugene Marathon/ 50 Miler Training RUndown Week 5: 1/21-1/27

Happy Humpday! I’m so glad we’re already halfway through this week. It’s getting close to our yurt trip and I’m so excited. I also just can’t wait for a few days off.


Monday, 1/21: 5.30 miles easy @ 11:40 pace with 838’ up. I definitely felt super tired & sluggish on this run, but was really surprised at the amount of elevation I gained. I’m starting to get stronger with those hills!

Tuesday, 1/22: 30 minutes of strength & 1.5 mi warm-up / 6 miles @ goal marathon effort (8:20) / 1.5 mi cool down. 9 miles total. originally had some 1k repeats on the schedule, but decided that this morning felt like a good one to get my tempo run in and I’m glad I did. I started out at a conservative pace (8:41) and bumped it up from there until my last mile was under 8 minute pace! All done at 0.5% incline and on the treadmill since it was an icy mess outside.


Wednesday, 1/23: REST DAY!

Thursday, 1/24: another snow day! 8 easy miles on the treadmill


Friday, 1/25: ANOTHER snow day! I did this speedwork on my treadmill at home (it’s not the best for going fast, but I made do). 5 x 1k with 400m Recovery between sets & 1.5 mi warmup & cool down. 7.5 miles & then strength work afterwards


Saturday, 1/26: 6 easy miles!


Sunday, 1/27: strength & followed by my longest run since July! 15 miles on a mix of snow covered trails & then slush-filled roads


Total Mileage: 50.82 miles!

Total Elevation Gain: 2,171’ up


Training Tuesday: How I Managed To Stay Up All Night And Pace a 100 Mile Race

Keeping a schedule when your schedule has been CRAZY is so difficult. I’m going to try my best to get up early to get my runs in, but I know that if I choose to sleep in then I’ll find a way to get my runs in later (that’s training for you, right?!?). I also really don’t want to get sick, so I’ll listen to my body and honor it. So let’s dive right into my recap of my pacing for the Run Rabbit Run 100 mile race!

I was contacted about a month ago from a past MS Run The US relay runner asking if I would be interested in pacing someone for the 100 miler and I love to take advantage of opportunities so I said sure (having no idea how many miles I’d commit to or who this person was that I’d be pacing)! I ended up emailing with the runner, Kristen, who was ALSO a past MS Run The US relay alum and I knew I had to help her out. This would be her first 100 mile race and her biggest goal was to just finish (but also shooting for the 30 hour time goal so somewhere between 14-18 min/mile). I thought that I could definitely keep her around her goal pace and knew that pacers were allowed after the 50.7 mile marker (not before), so I offered to pace her during the overnight portion from mile 50.7-70.1 (I knew the trail systems pretty well on Emerald and Spring Creek so running them overnight was scary, but completely terrifying).

I also knew that my biggest challenge if I were ever to do a 100 miler would be the overnight portion, so I wanted to help her along during the darkest hours (despite the fact that it meant that I would have to stay up way past my bedtime ; ) ….). SO fast-forward to race day last Friday!

Kristen’s mom texted me throughout the day letting me know how she was doing and I anticipated meeting up with Kristen sometime between 7:30-9:30pm at Olympian Hall. I kept tracking her online and while the tracker sometimes didn’t seem to work super well, I saw that she was totally rocking it so far (staying in the top 75!). I was so confident that Maybe we’d start before it even got dark out and finish by 1am or so! That sounded perfect. Well, it didn’t exactly go that way.

Just chilling in my car before she came into Olympian! Read some of my book and closed my eyes for a bit!

Just chilling in my car before she came into Olympian! Read some of my book and closed my eyes for a bit!

I’ve never paced anyone (did I mention that yet?), but with my past experience volunteering at the RRR several years in a row and with the relay this year I had a pretty good idea of what a pacers duties were (plus Kristen and I talked on the phone beforehand just getting a general idea of what she would need from me to help her reach her goal). I waited around in my car from 7:30-9:30pm until I finally heard from Kristen’s mom saying that she had left Dry Lake at 8:20 and anticipated it taking her two hours before reaching Olympian Hall (yikes!). I shortly found her family (her support crew!) hanging outside at Olympian at 10pm and heard that Kristen was starting to struggle at Dry Lake (which would explain why the 6.2 miles were anticipated to take her ~30 minutes longer than I would think). She also didn’t have her headlamp or warm clothes yet, so I was worried!

so pretty. so blurry. so zero dark thirty.

so pretty. so blurry. so zero dark thirty.

She arrived into Olympian at 10:30pm (first time meeting her in person!) and changed, got her some soup, and then we were off! She was definitely starting to struggle a bit and the entire first 5 miles on Emerald are up hill, so we mostly hiked (saw a porcupine!) and got to know each other a bit. She confessed that she really hadn’t eaten anything most of the day, so I tried to get her to eat some Honey Stinger chews and reminded her to drink water every 15 minutes or so. At this point I knew that it was going to be a long night and just prepared myself. It wasn’t too chilly at this point (maybe 50s?).

Once we arrived at the first check in point at Lane of Pain, Kristen was definitely starting to struggle, but I tried to keep her mental game strong (the best I could do!) and once she refueled a bit we climbed up higher and then made the turn onto Stairway to Heaven and looped back around to the second check in point at Lane of Pain. At this point, she was experiencing a bit of nausea and dizziness so we slowed our pace a bit. I managed to get some more food in her and we were off heading towards the bottom of Emerald for 5.2 miles!

Runners all around! Sorry for the blurry photos - turns out taking photos in the middle of the night on a trail is  pretty difficult

Runners all around! Sorry for the blurry photos - turns out taking photos in the middle of the night on a trail is pretty difficult

It was a slow descent and she would experience waves of feeling strong (mentally) and then completely down (mentally). It was really hard for me to find a good balance of staying positive, but also understanding (I’m such a positive polly to begin with! plus I still was trying to feel out how far I could push her before she broke…ahhh the wonderful duties of pacers!).

The lights and views of Steamboat below as we descended were so beautiful, I tried to take as many mental pictures as possible. At several points, I definitely heard some animals pretty close by, but I just chose to keep moving forward and to not look (ha - not sure if that is the best tactic or not?!?). Kristen started mentioning that she may be thinking of dropping out when we got to the bottom of Emerald (back at Olympian Hall) because she was pretty frustrated that she couldn’t go any faster and was getting passed quite a bit. I completely understood, but also tried to remind her that her biggest goal was to just finish and that it was dark so that could also account for her slowest miles too. I felt pretty bad that I couldn’t do anymore and just tried to keep a good pace and chat every-so-often with her to get her mind off of the pain (not sure if it was annoying or if it helped?).

With a mile left to go on Emerald, it got SO COLD. There was definitely a major inversion going on and I had taken off my ear warmers and mittens earlier because it was so warm, but we both could not get warm (so glad we both had the extra layers to pop on - they were a lifesaver!). We got back to Olympian Hall sometime around 3:30am. I thought for sure that Kristen may not want to continue on, but after 20 minutes and some soup, cheese and crackers, and coca cola, she was ready to go.

I was feeling pretty good (tired, but not nearly as exhausted as I anticipated) and happy that she wanted to keep going! The next mile or so went by pretty fast (it’s along the Core Trail and then lower Spring Creek), but it got super chilly out (we had to keep moving to stay warm!). After the first 1.5 miles, Kristen started to slow down pretty considerably. She was wanting to take a nap beside the trail (It was so cold and I was really adamant on her to keep moving because I was worried that if she took a nap and got too cold she wouldn’t be able to keep going and then we’d be stuck on the trail) and at some points her sentences were definitely incoherent. I just kept pushing forward at a considerable pace (but close enough to her so she could follow and I could hear her if she stopped at any point).

I tried to get her to eat something with caffeine (which didn’t really seem to help too much) and we just kept putting one foot in front of the other. She definitely started hallucinating a bit, which was pretty scary for me because not knowing her too well I had no idea what I would do if she hit her breaking point. I tried not to think about that and just enjoy the scenery. The sun was starting to come up and I was so thankful that we had made it through the night and also got to experience the upper portion of Spring Creek in the light! The fall colors were spectacular and around 6am, Kristen started making more coherent sentences and I was so relieved. I texted her mom letting her know that it would be around 7am when we’d arrive at Dry Lake (we originally anticipated it being around 6:30ish).

Tired and not the cutest face, but look at Kristen rocking it!

Tired and not the cutest face, but look at Kristen rocking it!

so beautiful.

so beautiful.

Here she comes!

Here she comes!

I know at one point, she was very hesitant to keep going after Dry Lake (she would be without a pacer for the next 31 miles until the finish), but to my surprise after 20 minutes at the aid station she was ready! I so badly wanted to keep going with her, but the way the course was this year I would have to do the next 31 miles with her (no other points for crewing or pacing to drop off because it was so remote) and I didn’t think that was in my physical capabilities.

almost to Dry Lake!

almost to Dry Lake!

It was so exciting to watch her head off and I kept tracking her throughout the remainder of the day (both excited and nervous - hoping that everything was going OK). She ended up having a small difficulty the last 5 miles of the race but finished 17 minutes under the 36-hour cut-off for her first 100-miler! I am so grateful that I got the opportunity to help her reach her goal and it really challenged me in so many (good) ways! I learned so much about myself in those 8 hours on the trails in the dark and highly recommend anyone thinking of pacing to DO IT! Life-changing experience for sure.

I think I got my step count in for Saturday (ha) and the funniest part? It reset at midnight so I got way more than 40k steps in!

I think I got my step count in for Saturday (ha) and the funniest part? It reset at midnight so I got way more than 40k steps in!

Have you ever paced an ultra? How was it?!?!

Ever ran an ultra?!? How far? What was it like???