Tag Archives: 50 mile race

Knowing When to Say When

Sometimes there is a fine line between being stubborn and knowing when a goal or dream isn’t going to be a reality.

Many of you know that I have started a 50 mile race 2 different times and 2 different times I ended up not finishing.
(October 2013, May 2014)

This past week I tried a different approach to running a 50 mile race. I entered a timed race with the goal of running 50 miles in the time.  (9 hours 11 minutes)

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I loved the idea behind the race – it was all about remembering and honoring those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

I started this race full of big plans – 50 miles was definitely part of the plan!!!

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The first 13-14 miles were great!!  I think I came through the half marathon right around 1:46 or 1:47 and I felt good.

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Ummm….I don’t think that was a good pace for running 9+ hours but it felt good.  My legs were ready to run (I guess resting does that) and my breathing was great.  I felt good running – smooth and easy the way running should be.

Around mile 14 I stopped for a minute to eat some grapes and let Chris use the stick to try and work a cramp out of my right hip.  That ended up being a bad plan because it was only 55 degrees and cloudy (very cold in my world!!!) and stopping gave my muscles a chance to realize how cold it was.

still running
still running

When I started back up there was a lot of running/walking going on.  I still did OK through about mile 20 and then it went way downhill.

I took advantage of the free mini massages they were offering during mile 21 and didn’t know if I was going to be able to start running again.Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 4.51.54 PMThankfully Hunter did a couple slow laps with me (he skipped school to come be part of my crew with Chris and I loved having both of them there!!).

I made it through mile 25 but I was miserable.  My hips did not want to keep turning over, my feet were cramping (I tried peanuts for salt but….), I was freezing and getting crankier by the minute!!!

Chris finally dragged my ass out of the tent we had and made me finish a couple more laps so that at least I finished marathon distance.

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Chris asked me if I wanted to keep going and get to 30 (and then 40 and then….).  All I wanted was to find a hot tub and get in it so that I could be warm.

I know Chris just wanted to make sure that I didn’t regret my decision (he’s been through this a couple times, too!!).

Here’s what I told him – my head says “YOU CAN RUN 50 MILES.”  But my body say “NO!!!!”

Cardio-wise I don’t have any problems running and running and running.  My joints and bones and muscles are a completely different story.

And, the biggest thing – I have attempted 50 miles in a race 3 times and not once have I loved the experience.  In fact, it is usually the opposite – I hate it with almost every fiber of my being!!!

So, I don’t know that I will ever run a true 50 mile race and I’m completely OK with that.  I just want to run and love it.  I don’t like having to take over a week off to rest my legs before or after a race.

I just want to run when I want to for however long I feel like going and enjoy it!!! Patriot's Run

That being said, I will do the race again next year but I will just sign up for the marathon. I loved the set-up, the support and the reason behind this race and will definitely go back and run again!!!

I think Kenny Rogers summed it up –
“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run…”

Have you ever had a dream/goal that you ultimately realized wasn’t going to happen and let it go?  Were you OK with your decision?

A huge thanks to all y’all who tweeted, face booked and sent happy thoughts in other ways. Big shout out to Kristina (Blog about Running) for the hourly tweets of motivation all day Thursday!!!

Happy Monday!!


A Lighter Week in Anticipation of the Big Race!! (5/4 – 5/10)

This week was a much lighter kind of week for me because I wanted to rest my legs as much as possible since today is the big day!!!

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Sunday 5/4  44 plank on stability ball with knee to elbow.

right knee in
right knee in

I did all 44 with my right knee and then switched and did 44 more!!

ready to go again
ready to go again
left knee in
left knee in

Just holding plank on the stability ball was hard – pulling my knees in was brutal!!!

Monday 5/5 44 supermans on stability ball with alternate leg lifts.  A right leg lift with superman and a left leg lift = 1 rep.

ready - the easy part
ready – the easy part
lift, squeeze, left leg up
lift, squeeze, left leg up
other side view
other side view
lift, squeeze, right leg
lift, squeeze, right leg

This was a walking day – 5 miles at 7.5% incline in 75 minutes.  I wanted to do something but nothing too challenging!!

Tuesday 5/6 – 44 medicine ball crunches on a stability ball.


Pilates was a good choice for a workout that wasn’t too difficult – Burn and Firm Pilates.

Wednesday 5/7  44 reverse crunches with the stability ball under my legs.

crunch up
crunch up

Not gonna lie – just holding onto the ball was a challenge!!!

And, because I was super excited about the new shoes I received on Tuesday (I won some Mizuno Hitogamis from Jacqueline @ Skinny Chick Blog), I had to get a run in.

Just 3 miles nice and easy (25:25) with another 0.75 to cool down.  I think I’m going to enjoy these shoes for lighter runs/speed work.

Nice, huh?!
Nice, huh?!

Thursday 5/8 – 44 hip raises on stability ball.

lift butt and squeeze
lift butt and squeeze

This is one of those moves that seems like it will be easy but you will definitely feel it after a few reps!!!

I took the day off from working out – trying to rest my legs some and I knew that I was going to spend about 4-5 hours on my feet cleaning and ironing at our venue so I decided to skip my normal workout.

Friday 5/9 – 44 stability ball squats – barely touch the ball with your butt and come up just a few inches so that you are in a squat the entire time – OUCH!!!

barely touch
barely touch
up just a little
up just a little

Saturday 5/10 44 crunch reaches.  I needed something quick and easy and this was perfect!!

up and reach
up and reach

Today I will spend most of my day here – 

The Flint Hills
The Flint Hills

The race starts at 6:00 am and hopefully I will be done before 4:00 pm but no matter how long it takes – Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 10.24.59 AM

Happy Saturday!


Failing Is Just one Step on the Way to Success

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Sometimes we have to do things that take us way out of our comfort zones – whether it is related to our personal lives, fitness, work, or any other area of our lives it is necessary to push ourselves occasionally.

I feel like almost every day since August 27, 2013 I have had to push out of my comfort zone.  (That is the day we bought a business.)  I knew nothing about owning a business so my life has been all about a learning curve!

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 8.50.06 PMSo, in the past few months I’ve been trying lots of new things – some of those things work and others aren’t great – some have been total busts.

Saturday, I tried something and feel like it was pretty much an epic fail!!!  Thankfully the only thing I lost was my time (over 10 hours) and I learned a few things in the process.

I think that the idea is good – I just need to spend some time doing a little more prep work and figuring out the best way to promote the event so I’m not going to give up  – just find a new way!!!

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Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 8.30.51 PMScreen Shot 2014-04-13 at 8.31.05 PMScreen Shot 2014-04-13 at 8.31.15 PMScreen Shot 2014-04-13 at 8.31.29 PMScreen Shot 2014-04-13 at 8.31.42 PMScreen Shot 2014-04-13 at 8.32.47 PMScreen Shot 2014-04-13 at 8.33.47 PMScreen Shot 2014-04-13 at 8.34.52 PMAs much as I don’t like to fail, I know that it is part of life.  We have to be willing to learn and grow from our mistakes and not being willing to put ourselves out there is worse than trying and failing!!!

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 8.39.27 PMSo I will just keep trying and let each failure get me a little closer to being successful.

I’m hoping that the lessons I learned during my last attempt at a 50 mile race will pay off in just under 4 weeks when I am competing in another 50!!!

Have you had an failures that learned from and turned into a great experience?

Happy Monday!!


I’m Not Ready to Give Up

Today’s 44 was one that I saw Tara do (Family Sport Life).  I didn’t totally master it but it was still very effective.  To start, you balance yourself on a stability ball (knees on it) and then you do the actual move – bicep curls.

trying to balance
trying to balance

If you look closely you can see that I had to tap my toes (more than keep them up actually) to keep from falling on my face.  I’m going to keep working on the balance aspect!!!

Besides working my biceps (10 pound dumbbells), this move was good for my core (balance) and my quads were burning by the end!!!!

And then I ran again – 2 days in a row!!!  Yesterday I got in 6 miles and today I ran 6 at just under 8 minute/mile pace and did another 1.75 miles to cool down.

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 9.36.51 PMSo, you might remember that back in October I attempted my first 50 mile race and it did not go well.  

I made a lot of mistakes but I also learned a lot.  And, way down deep I know that I can run a 50 (and maybe even a 100 miler!!!).  

Yesterday morning I was scrolling through FaceBook and saw a post from the Heartland 100/50 (the race I did last year) saying that they are changing the 50 and making it a day race!!!!  (Last year it was at night – pitch black on a rocky road, cold, lonely…….)

Then this happened – Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 9.42.43 PM

In May, I’m going to try again to complete a 50 mile race!!!!Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 9.36.32 PM

Actually I’m going to do more than try!!!!  I’m going to take the things I learned last fall and apply them and this 50 mile race is going to be a great experience!!!!

In October, I wasn’t mentally tough enough to push through the pain and other factors that were involved.

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 9.36.06 PMThis time, my head will be in the right place and there will be no giving up!!!

I’m excited to get another chance to fulfill my goal of competing in an ultra!!!!

Happy Sunday!!


Race Recap and Recollections

Today I just did a little flutter kick for my 44.  I was going to add a bar raise with my arms but decided to just go with the leg kicks.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3-JVDkowTc’]

I counted a right/left flutter as 1 rep – another simple move for the 44.

So, Saturday night was my 50 mile race.  It didn’t go quite as I had planned.  I’m still not sure that I can make a coherent post about it but I’m going to at least put my thoughts down.

hanging out before the race
hanging out before the race

We got to the race site around 4:45 I think – I picked up my number and ankle chip then we all just stood around for awhile.  (over an hour!!)  It was nice to chat with some of the other runners and find out who was an experienced ultra runner and who was a newbie.  The girl in the pink headband, Lauren, was also running her first ultra.  The guy in all black, Scott, (conferring with us next to the cars) is a very experienced ultra runner.

count-down timer start/finish line
count-down timer
start/finish line

There were only 20-25 people in the 50 – most people prefer the 100!!  The race started right on time – 6:00pm.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1-fJJFm-uI’]

The start – everyone is happy and perky!!!  The temperature was nice – about 60 I think.

2 guys took off right from the beginning, then a group of 5 of us stayed together for the first 4 miles (until the 1st unmanned aid station).  We were running about 9:50 pace at this point. Mistake #1 (remember the run/walk plan?)

Everyone else stopped at the aid station – I kept going.  One of the guys was quick and caught back up with me so we ran together until about 9.5 miles.  I was feeling great and running a nice easy pace.  When we came to the first manned station, my running partner stopped – I did not.  Mistake #2

By this point it was dark so I had to fish out my knuckle lights and I had my headlamp attached to the front of my camel back.  The hills were becoming more and more frequent and big!!!  I just kept running (ignoring my Garmin every time it went off to say WALK!!). Mistake #3 

Around mile 13 something I passed another unmanned aid station (without stopping!!).  Mistake #4

By about mile 15, I was freezing (just wearing my shorts and shirt) but I didn’t want to stop and put on my jacket (it was tied around my waist) and fish my gloves out of my camel back.  Mistake #5

Mile 17 was the first aid station where we would see our crew so I was holding out for that.  I got there and thought I was good – just frozen.  Chris helped me get my gloves on since I couldn’t even bend my fingers to do it myself.  I put on my jacket (just a light weight one) and took off again.  Mistake #6

I was under 3 hours at this point – stupid, stupid, stupid!!!  It was almost 9 pm and all I had eaten for the day was 3 pieces of pizza at about 11:00 am.  Mistake #7

When I left the aid station, I decided to start utilizing my run/walk plan.  My Garmin was set to let me know – 4 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking.  I did this for 3 miles (to get to mile 20) and then decided to walk a little more.  Every single part of my lower body from my toes up to and including my butt was one solid cramp!  

By this point, I had run 10 miles completely by myself in pitch black darkness (except for my little lights) and I was freezing.  I knew that I still had 5 miles until the next aid station but that I would see Chris again when I got there.

My new buddy, Scott, caught back up with me around mile 22 – I was walking at this point.  He stayed with me a bit and made me eat some nasty ginger thing and take a salt tablet.  He asked what I had eaten at the aid stations – I told him nothing.   He asked if I had walked up the hills (his words of advice before we started) – of course I hadn’t!!!  Mistake #8 & #9

He told me just to hang on until the aid station/turn-around at mile 25 and to eat something there and put on more clothes!!!

I thanked him for hanging with me for a bit but told him to keep going and not fall behind because of me.  Around this time, I started seeing runners coming toward me every once in awhile – 100 mile runners.  Their course  had them run the 25 miles that we had as an out-and back for their last 25 miles.  Most of the 100 mile runners had a pacer with them for the last 25 miles!!  (50 milers weren’t allowed pacers)

I’m not gonna lie – I felt like a loser walking before I even hit 25 miles when these people had already run 75+!!!!!

Around mile 23, my Garmin battery died!!!  Great – now I had no idea how far/long till the aid station.  At this point there might have been a few tears.  

I don’t know why my feet, knees, hips, butt, legs – everything – was hurting so much!  I’ve run further many times so I don’t know what the cramping was all about.  I think the cold may have contributed (it was around 42 degrees after the sun went down).  

All I could think about was that running should be fun!  And I was not enjoying a single thing about the race.  In fact, I was hating all of the different aspects of it!!!

  • gravel roads with lots of large rocks
  • cattle guards
  • hill after hill
  • the complete darkness
  • the isolation
  • the freezing cold
  • knowing that I was going to have to repeat these long lonely 8 miles between the 2 crew stations after I turned around
  • not having a Garmin to let me know the distance (not sure why my battery died – maybe all those alerts that I wasn’t using)

I finally decided that I was just going to get to the 25 mile station and instead of turning around I was quitting because I was at near melt-down point.

When I finally saw the lights I might have cried again – and then it took me forever to get to them.  I saw Chris open the back of the car and went straight over to it without checking in.  I told him I was done!!!  I let him take my ankle chip off and take it over to the check-in site to withdraw me.  

We had put some sleeping bags in the car and he rolled one out for me to lay on and covered me with the other – it took me the entire 2 hours before we were home to stop shivering (I still had on my gloves and everything).  

By the time we got home it was around 1:30 – I had peed about 15 minutes before the race started (so around 5:45) and after taking a hot bath, I finally peed around 2 am before going to bed.  (I know that y’all want to know how often I pee!!!)

I don’t know if I was dehydrated and that caused the cramping in my entire lower body or if it was the hills and rocks, or the fact that I didn’t utilize my run/walk plan or the lack of any fueling – I just know that I made a decision on that dark and lonely stretch of 8 miles to stop at the half-way mark and I will have to live with that decision.

I know this was a long rambling post – my thoughts are still somewhat jumbled.  At this point I have no plans to attempt another ultra – the point at which I hate everything about a race and running is not something I want to experience again.  

Happy Monday – I’m going to take one more day to recoup and then get back to my normal routine!!