Saturday, December 31, 2016

2,210 Miles & 4 Races in 2016

Run This Year

2,016 miles - that was my distance running goal for 2016. When I started training for this year's ultras, hitting the weekly goal just happened. I averaged 42 miles a week and I ran 2,210 miles in 2016.

50K Race Prep: So many gels!

4 Races in 2016 from a 25K to a 50 Mile Race

I ran in four races this year, the shortest and longest races were held close to home at Brazos Bend State Park in Texas (top picture).

The Woodlands is even closer to home and this year I was able to start up close to the front just behind the pros in the marathon because I went to a pre-race class.

When I found out that we were driving to California last November, I registered for a race that would be right on the way - a 50K in Arizona.

12/10/16 Brazos Bend 50 Mile Trail Race in Texas; Time: 9:55:03; My 2nd 50 mile race!
11/12/16 Pass Mountain 50K Trail Race in Arizona; Time: 7:52:56; My 3rd 50K!
4/16/16 Brazos Bend 25K Trail Race in Texas; Time: 2:30; 3rd in my age group!
3/5/16 The Woodlands Marathon in Texas, Time: 4:15; My 18th marathon!

You can click the links to read my recaps. Plus, you can find me on Strava.

The Scenic Park Where I Ran Most of the 2,210 Miles 

2017 Running Goals

To run 2,017 in 2017, I'll need to run about:
  • 5.5 miles a day or
  • 39 miles a week.
Hopefully, I'll be able to run 2,017 miles this next year and find a race or two to run, too. Do you have any special running goals for 2017? Whatever they may be, I hope you have fun completing them!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Peppermint or Pumpkin, Hot or Cold!

It's been both cold and warm in southeast Texas lately - perfect for trying new flavored tea and coffee recipes, both hot and iced. This week, I've run when it was a chilly 30 and a warmish 70 like today when I ran my longest run (9 miles) since my 50 mile race two weeks ago.

Hot or Iced Peppermint Recipes

If you use the microwave like I did with all of my hot drinks, you'll have a drink faster than it would take for you to go through a drive-through.

Peppermint White Hot Chocolate warmed me up after I ran 6 miles, walked Zoe, stretched and foam rolled yesterday.

Iced Peppermint Mocha is what I made with some leftover coffee. Just add chocolate syrup and peppermint extract to your coffee. No recipe needed.

Pumpkin Tea and Pumpkin Coffee Recipes

You might have added pumpkin to your yogurt or oatmeal before, but have you ever added it to your tea or coffee?

Pumpkin Chai (pictured) I added in a caramel because my mother-in-law gave us 3 pounds of Dewar's candy. My best estimate: 3 pounds of candy = 3,333 miles of running, all uphill.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Click for the recipe or make it my way and mix in pumpkin, sugar, milk, vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spices into your coffee. 

Number of miles I ran each day this week: 5, 5, 6, 0, 6, 9

I hope that you have a merry Christmas and a happy new year while sipping your favorite flavor of coffee or tea!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Ultrarunning and Leaning to One Side

Have you ever gone for a run and felt your body leaning to one side? During the Brazos Bend 50 Mile raceI had been leaning to the left since mile 30 or so. It didn't hurt, but the farther I ran the more I had to work to keep from leaning left. 

After I finished the race after 9 hours and 55 minutes of running, I was given a chair to rest in and then the race doctor walked with me to my car. By then, I was hardly leaning to one side and I felt normal. When I told him that I often lean left in the later miles of ultras, he said that if I always lean towards the left, I could try a hip stretch to prevent it and that I might be over-compensating for a problem in my lower back/right side. 

My 50 Mile Goals 
  • I will start at an easy pace.
  • When something goes wrong, work through it!
  • There's no giving up! 
All accomplished on race day, 12/10/16!

How I Exercised Last Week 

After completing the Brazos Bend 50 Mile race on Saturday, I eased back into running with 12 miles of running. Running helped to reduce the post-race soreness faster. Besides, it was fun to be running again.

  • Monday - walked Zoe, my Weimaraner
  • Tuesday - 2 mile run, strength-training 30 min.
  • Wednesday - 3 mile run
  • Thursday - 20 minute ride, strength-training 30 min.: arms 
  • Friday - 3 mile run
  • Saturday - 4 mile run, strength-training 30 min.: arms

I'm thankful...
  • to my husband for taking a picture of me modeling the hip stretch that the dr. advised.
  • for the park behind my house where I run (sometimes with my husband and Zoe).
  • that my body is recovering well from my 50 mile trail ultra. 
I'd love to hear about you...

Have you run or ever thought about running an ultra (any distance longer than a marathon)?
Do you have any new running goals for 2017? Or for the end of 2016? 
What are you thankful for this week?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Brazos Bend 50 Mile Trail Race Report

I ran the Brazos Bend 50 Mile Trail Race yesterday! Last year, I ran my first 50 mile race on the same course. 

Course Notes: Soon after starting the race, I was stopped in my tracks by a herd of 10 or so wild hogs who ran across the trail. At the same time, coming the other direction was Caroline Boller who ran the fastest national 50 mile time yesterday in 5:48:01.

Running with Mark and Jessica made the first loop go by quickly. Later, I actually backtracked on the course to see two alligators (am I crazy, or what?), but I'm glad that two runners, Charlie and Ashley, pointed them out to me. There was a girl with them on a bike that kept me company and encouraged me by telling me I was keeping a good pace.

The 50 mile race was three loops that went through the start/finish line twice during the race so I was able to stop at my drop bag twice. There were a few rocks and some tacky mud that you could mostly avoid by running on the grass beside the dirt trail. We ran by lakes and marshes and through the woods. There were a couple of very short hills, but the the course was mostly flat.

Would I Ever Cross the Finish Line? In order to get a 50 mile PR and a course PR, I needed to beat 12:12. My pace goal was 12 minute miles, but I ran a little faster than that at first (about 11 minute miles) because it felt incredibly easy in the cool weather. Towards the end, I had to walk a bit, but my husband was watching the real-time results online and I was surprised to later learn that I was actually doing better relative to the other runners towards the end than I did at the beginning. 

Just before hitting mile 49, I fell in the gravel, but I only had minor scrapes. In my last race, the Pass Mountain 50K on November 12, I fell at about mile 1 so this was sort of an improvement. Many runners stopped to make sure that I was okay. I don't remember for sure, but maybe I tripped while getting a drink.

Maybe half a block before the finish line, I felt like I didn't even have the energy to cross it, but just as I did, I felt someone holding me up because I was falling. That's never happened before. I'm so grateful to that stranger for being there at just the right time.

They sat me down. The race director and a doctor asked me about the last time I had eaten. They were okay about my fueling because I had been eating and drinking until the end. The doctor told me to get into dry clothes and to eat. He walked me to my car and by then, I was fine.

Getting There: The race took place at Brazos Bend State Park, Texas, which is near Houston and only about an hour from my home. With a 7am race start, I left home at 5am.

How could I forget to take photos at the race?! Taken when I drove home.

Packet Pick-up and Parking: On the morning of the race, there was easy-peasy parking close to the start and a restroom. There was no line for packet pick-up.

Swag Bag: Instead of a Christmas themed race shirt that I could only wear seasonally, I chose a buff and a water bottle. 

Weather/Clothes: It was mostly cloudy and cool at about 35-55 degrees during the race so I wore a jacket, gloves and capris beneath my skirt just before the race to keep me warm. During the race, I wore the skirt and a short sleeved shirt and also a long sleeved shirt for part of the race. 

Fuel Pre-race: Waffles and coffee 3 hours before start and 1 GU gel just before the start.

Fuel During the Race: The pre-race plan was to take GU gels about every 45 minutes. I ate two GU gels from home, but when I saw the aid stations, I decided their food looked best. At mile 20, I ate pecan pie and at mile 30, I ate a brownie. Other favorites: peanut M&M's (made it to mile 44 because of my 3 piece M&M reward for running a half mile without stopping when my mind was screaming, "Stop!"), huckleberry and espresso Hammer gels. In the second half, my bottle was full of Hammer Heed and I picked up Coke cups and ate Ritz crackers and potato chips. I had a salt tab at mile 25 and 40 maybe, but I don't know if that helped. 



  • Time: 9:55:03
  • 11:54 average min/mile pace
  • 4th in the 50+ year old women
  • 17th out of 69 women
  • 40th out of 141 participants

My Favorite Things about the Race: The other runners were so encouraging with their smiles and kind words. The aid station volunteers were great with pep talks and next aid station distances. After the race, they warmed me up with a quesadilla, ramen, coffee and even wrapped me in a blanket. I don't know how many times the race director, Rob Goyen, high fived me during the race!  

I ran my first and only other 50 mile race in April of 2015 on the same course. I ran that warm 50 mile race in 12:12. My big goal for this race was to get a course PR and I got it by completing the race in 9:55! I'm a little sore, but I'm, oh, so happy about completing my second 50 mile race, my PR of 2 hours 17 minutes and my sub 10 hour time! 

Friday, December 2, 2016

50 Mile Race Coming Up

Time for a Flagstaff stop-off on our way home, but not before waking up to the first snowfall of the year. On Saturday, I woke up to a winter wonderland! I looked out of the RV and saw a beautiful view - snow covered the ground, our Jeep and the mountain behind the KOA Flagstaff campground.

Last week, I ran 52 miles while on vacation in Yosemite and Bakersfield, California. Back at home in Texas, I've put in 3 days of running: a 9, 6 and 10 mile run. Tomorrow, I hope to run 5 miles. My neighborhood park is nice, but I've missed running on the beautiful Yosemite trails like I did last week. At least I don't have to watch out for bears now!

I ran the Pass Mountain 50K trail race in Arizona on November 12 and my next race will be held on December 10 and it's going to be a long one...

50 miles is the longest distance I've ever run and my next race will be my second time to stand at the start line of a 50 mile race - the Brazos Bend 50 Mile Trail Race in Texas. As usual when racing in Brazos Bend State Park, counting the 'gators will be a good distraction!
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