January 7, 2014


Um, we're off school today because of COLD. Yep, no snow, just COLD. I kind of balked at the reasoning at first, but the more reading and listening I do, I get it. I work in an underprivileged area, and sadly, many families have to go to shelters for proper heating. Also, our school buses don't have heat. And my "cottage" is outside; so my students have to go OUT for the bathroom, lunchroom, library, anything. Many of them don't have proper jackets. And, while there is no snow, bridges could be iced over. And goodness knows, no one around here can drive in any sort of inclement weather. So... yeah, I get it now.

I'll just sit here in my kitchen and sip my coffee, thanks. As I enter the last month of the training cycle, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the race. I've had a few freak outs, but thankfully, my coach has gotten used to talking me down from the ledge. The thing that worries me the most is the unknown. I haven't approached anything new like this in years. Newness is scary. Hopefully with a combination of trust and preparation, I will be successful on Feb. 7.

With limited knowledge, this is my biggest challenge going into the race. My coach has been on my butt pretty good about hydrating, and I didn't really believe I had a problem until the one millionth and one time he talked to me about it. The more he explained it, the more I started to understand. Dehydration connects the dots with a lot of stomach problems I have on runs and in races. And once I started getting into ultra training, I realized how LITTLE I am actually taking in while running. Scary/stupid little. It seems so easily fixable, but honestly, it's something I have to force on myself.

Thankfully, I have a month to practice and prepare for this. I've mentioned before, but it's very hard for me to sneak away to the restroom during the day, but I can definitely do some binge hydrating after school and on the weekends.

I've also been studying/thinking/practicing when and how I'm going to fuel before/during the race. I feel like I have a pretty good plan of attack, but I'm sure coach and I will review it again before the big day.

I'm always going to be one of those people that thinks I haven't done enough. It's why I hate the taper. In my mind, it feels like I need more. I'm not really sure why I am a complete idiot about this, but honestly, I've done NUMEROUS 100 mile weeks and there are still doubts in my mind about if I'm trained enough. And yes, I realize how stupid that sounds! I've done TONS of back to back long runs, peaking at 37 miles, including plenty of 20 and 20s on the weekends. On paper, I am ready. My coach tells me I'm ready, and he even gave me a little talk this week about over training. We still didn't see eye to eye on this, but he's the boss, and I'll do my best to absorb and follow. After all, why have a coach if you just blow off his advice? Which is exactly what my husband and training partner told me when I told them how stupid of a concept over training is (in my situation. I know it exists, though). And honestly, what finally convinced me was this past weekend I was talking to a guy training for his first 100. He's done MULTIPLE 50s, and in my opinion, has been successful at the distance. He asked me how the training was coming, and I was telling him. His response, "Jesus! That's more than enough!" Okay, okay, so coach is right...

There's still that stupid voice in my head that says, "Maybe just a few more miles. Maybe you aren't ready. 50 miles is a long way to run." The next few weeks my goal is to listen to coach and people that are SMARTER than my voice in the head.

My last double long run will be this weekend. Saturday will be 15ish miles, and Sunday will be the First Light Marathon. I originally hadn't planned on this marathon. It's our local deal. The closer the day came, though, I started getting really jealous of our entire running club that's participating in some way. And I needed a LR anyway, soooo.... I'm running easy pace with my good friend and great master's runner, Amy. I already told her that I would run with her, which will take away any stupidity I might get at the start line to race it. Also, the race benefits L'Arche, a home for mentally handicapped adults. I definitely don't mind supporting it. It's a win-win for me! I get to support our local race, participate with my friends, AND knock off a training run with a buddy.

Getting to the Start HEALTHY
So, everyone I know has the flu it seems like (not quite, but close). I am doing everything in my power to be as healthy as possible by Feb. 7. I've slimmed down a little bit (not sure how much  because I don't weigh myself), however number on the scale is meaningless at this point. It's all about fueling my body with plenty of healthy calories. This sounds easy enough, but when you do lots of long runs and 100 mile weeks, you get HUNGRY. And hunger sometimes leads to stupid nutritional decisions. On the flip side of that, I am a firm believer that if you don't eat enough, you will find yourself sick or injured in a matter of weeks. I've been working hard to find the healthy balance of getting FULL on GOOD foods. It's been kind of fun recently. I've been making quite a few things off Pinterest; my current favorite is homemade eggplant and spinach pizza with feta cheese and whole wheat crust. I'm also into quinoa. Um, and peanut butter. And I can tear down fresh fruit in a matter of seconds. No worries, though, I have a healthy appetite for gelato, which I've been eating nearly every night. I've been working on getting good sleep and avoiding booze. Granted, I still have my occasional wine or beer, but I know that from a hydration standpoint, water is my best choice. If I'm sipping on wine at night, that is water that I'm NOT sipping on. I've also been drinking Emergen C each night with my water. Hey, I work with germy children, who can blame me?

I've been playing around with different shoes, trying to make a decision on which ones to wear for the 50. After reading a few posts on the Brooks ID group page, I decided to try the Ghosts out on the trails. I'm glad I did, because they did awesome! I did 18 on trails that are tougher than RR, and all was good. I'm going to do at least one more LR on the trails, in which I plan to try the Launch. I will then make a decision between the two. I don't want to stop to change shoes during the 50, but I will pack an extra pair just in case. (I don't want to talk about bag packing yet. This is still one of the biggest things that freaks me out about the 50. I am wrapping my head around needing to pack a BAG for a run. That just adds to the "scary" element of the distance. I've been picking Queen Shannon's and my coach's head about this, and I will report on that later.)

The Head
50 miles is a LONG way to run. Lots of crap goes through my head when I run alone. I'm just hoping I can pull it all together in the next few weeks. If I can get the part between my ears in place, I think the rest will follow.

Run Happy, Friends!


  1. It DEFINITELY sounds like you are more than ready. Try to hush the voice in your head so that you can ENJOY the experience - you have earned it!!! What a great place to be in.

    And I totally hear you on the mileage and the hunger. Peanut butter is my biggest craving and weakness!!! :)

    I am super excited for you!!! It's going to be awesome!!!

  2. I've been home for two days because of the cold weather and I am ready to go back. ;-)

    I also binge hydrate after school. I drink a few sips during lunch and that's it. Once I am home I drink about half a gallon and then am constantly going to the bathroom.

    Girl, you are more than ready for this race. I know you will do great. Can't wait to hear about it.

  3. I think you are ready too :)

  4. People are freaking out because of the cold here! I want to hear your first light recap, because I want to do that race some day.
    My biggest challenge is making my left leg function correctly :(

  5. I'm so excited for you getting outside the (marathon) box but I think it's so up your alley!!

    I can't help but feel a little nostalgic when I hear about First Light-hope you have fun!!

    and of course, T-minus 30 days!!!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Good luck. You are going to kill it. BTW- I've added the Comrades Ultra to my bucket list but I know I'll never be able to run that whole thing.

  8. Hey - definitely email me about RnR. gracethacker at gmail.

  9. It sounds like you have identified potential areas of concern and are addressing them head on, so that when race day comes, you won't have a thing to worry about! I'm very excited for you!