Lake Hodges 50k – 2017

LakeHodges50k

This past July I decided I was going to run my first ultra marathon. This decision came to
me in my journey to eventually qualify for Boston. I’ve noticed when I run longer distances not only do I become stronger but mentally my mileage becomes less. I’ve learned it allows me to run faster and longer. Adding miles to my runs, especially trail

drop bags!

drop bags!

runs gives me the strength I need to become faster. I could just get into interval training on a high school track but I find trails a little more exciting and my style!

I decided to run Lake Hodges 50k because the course looked challenging, the race director was organized, and the October date was appealing for nice weather…. It also gave me 12 weeks to train. Training was smooth, fueling for longer distances is fun for me. I like the science behind it and how nutrition plays a role in the way I preform. Since 31 miles isn’t a whole lot more than a marathon. I altered some of

first mile in and looking perfectly spooky for a Halloween race!

first mile in and looking perfectly spooky for a Halloween race!

my gels and actually added food (yes, food) to my training. It’s so hard for me to eat anything while running. The night before a run I can’t eat past midnight, I can stomach one Health Warrior Bar or gel and that’s it! It really sucks but that’s my body. So taking on an Ultra was exciting, it let me challenge myself and play nutritionist at the same time ;p

On October 28th, I woke up around 3:45 to make a 7 am start time. The race was held at Lake Hodges hence Lake Hodges 50k which is in Escondido. About 45-55

The long stretch before hills, this is where the sun started to poke out!

The long stretch before hills, this is where the sun started to poke out!

miles from my home. Since I had schedule two races this weekend, the 28th and 29th I wasn’t able to make packet pick up in between work and managing a LA packet pick up. So I got to the race by 6 to pick up my bib and shirt. The packet pick up line while long was fast, as it was organized well. I was able to pick my bib up, check in, and collect my crazy thoughts, lol. I originally put together two drop bags that I 86’d that morning and

decided to go “All IN” on the aid stations and my Orange Mud HydraQuiver Pack.

Before the race, I did some final stretching and prayed. I prayed for strength, I prayed for the other runners, I prayed for whatever God had planned for us; we would accept and try to understand his plan, whether we DNF or finished. Before I knew it I was toeing’ the start line and off into low

Photo by Scott Crellin

Photo by Scott Crellin

laying fog amongst the brush. The first 5k was easy and relaxing, from tips of previous ultra runners, I knew to start slow. I got into “my” comfortable pace. My pace was strong and my mind was open. I kept telling myself that finishing was more important than time, with the exception of course cut off times ;p My

Past the hills and getting closer to finishing, 24.5 miles and 6.5 to go!

Past the hills and getting closer to finishing, 24.5 miles and 6.5 to go!

goal for my first 50k was a sub 6:30, I wasn’t sure 5k or even 10k into the race if I’d hit my goal.

I continued to run and at 4.6 I came across my first aid station, it was after a hilly .5 of up and down. I stopped and refilled my bottles. I kept my nuun Performance in the pockets of my HydraQuiver. That helped me maintain my electrolytes and carb balance. My goal was to
intake between 100-250 calories per hour, as well as stay hydrated and energized.

Back at Lake Hodges and close to finishing!

Back at Lake Hodges and close to finishing!

Once I trailed off the aid station, I told myself to make those stations “markers” and utilize them as much as possible. The aid stations for this Ultra were

awesome and included anything you could think of. They really spoiled my first Ultra experience. The next aid station was 8.5 and the course during the

photo by Scott Crellin

photo by Scott Crellin

last 4 miles was back tracking the hilly .5 to an overpass that lead to open area and yay, hills! Between 8.5 and the aid station at mile 13. I started talking to a woman who was an ER nurse. This part of the course had long stretches of miles and farmland. She told me she ran this race before and remembers this part being boring as she ran it alone. Running through it, I felt free. I enjoyed the stretches and was happy for no incline, yet. Mile 13 we hit another aid station, I took my time

Back at Lake Hodges and with about a mile to go!! Smiles for days!

Back at Lake Hodges and with about a mile to go!! Smiles for days!

and my new running friend did too. We were there about 30 seconds, a refill and few pretzel sticks did the trick. This section is where the hills kicked in and I slowed down a bit. Only 13 miles in and I didn’t want to exert myself just yet. I still felt strong and I had my new running friend by my side. We were each other’s cheerleaders and it helped. The next aid station approached at mile 18, at this point I just refueled my OM bottles and snacked on some almonds I had packed myself. I took a Honey Stinger gel, and started back on my way. The way back to the next aid station just backtracked from mile 13 to 18.75, then 18.75 became 24.5. Getting through 18.75 and 24.5 was the toughest. My legs were on fire, hills for days and I also let my running buddy go so she could crush a PR! During this time I chatted with many runners, we both kept each other’s spirits up and managed to get through to the next station. 24.5 aid station until 28.9 I was running solo, trying to feel comfortable and stay headstrong. The ground at that point was flat but sandy. I started chatting with a young man who runs marathons every week. Some twice in a weekend. He was truly inspiring, I let him go at mile 30…so he could crush his PR. Between the last mile, I came across men and women who we

I finished!! Officially an Ultra Marathoner!

I finished!! Officially an Ultra Marathoner!

cheered each other on; keep it going; stay strong; see you at the finish! Coming along the lake once again, that familiar single track path that you started with was rewarding and so exciting. I saw the finish line in the distance and started my sprint. You can’t help but speed up and finish strong! Crossing the finish line was amazing, my sister surprised me with my boys and flowers. People were cheering and ALL the food was ready to eat!

I had finished my first 50k in 06:42:42, 12 mins longer than hoped but I finished and couldn’t be upset over a time. I didn’t know if I wanted to cry or laugh. The experience was amazing!!! I knew I had picked the perfect race for my first. I recommend Lake Hodges 50k to anyone whether you are running your first or 10th ultra marathon. The race actually has different distances, so you can start at a mile kids run, 15k, and then work your way into the 50k! This race spoiled me during my first ultra marathon experience. I’m now planning my next challenge, a 50 miler and hopes of the change to run MiWok 100k next May. I know this challenging and rewarding experience will lead me to Boston in the years to come. For now, I’ll enjoy new friends, miles on trails, and adventures with my boys!

It’s Giveaway Time!

giveaway

TinkerBell Half Marathon Weekend is in just a few short days. This half holds a special place in my heart as it is my first! In honor of my first half, I am giving away a Momentum Jewelry Wrap to two lucky winners! In order to win, please click on the link below and make sure you follow my Instagram!

PrayRunLiveLove

WDW Marathon 2017

 

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The 2017 WDW Marathon made me a Marathoner. It was the race I signed up for while I was 5 months pregnant and wanted that challenge after my second son was born. I look back now and shouldn’t have let the hormones run the show, but if I didn’t I wouldn’t have made the jump so soon. With only 16 weeks post baby and 10 weeks to train, I knew I had a lot on my plate.

Leading up until marathon week, I begun to prepare myself for 26.2 miles. I gathered as much information as possible; tips and wise words. My training was intense for a short amount of time. Also, between natural body changes and life, there were plenty of days I had to force myself just to get back out. I knew giving myself the short amount of time between having a baby and the

Under the castle hangs!! Feeling good at mile 5!

Under the castle hangs!! Feeling good at mile 5!

marathon may have been a stretch but I was going to stick to it. I meal prepped and stuck to a strict diet just the week of to ensure I had the proper nutrition and energy to keep me strong all the miles. I started to monitor which energy gels and hydration drinks worked best and for what amount time. One thing I would just have to accept is my milk production, since I was breastfeeding and that my boobs were going to throw me off during the end of my run. I didn’t even want to get the idea that I could stop and pump during the marathon. I’ll tell you now, I did pump after the run and filled 4 bottles for a total of 18 ounces! lol. Preparing myself for the marathon helped a lot. With proper nutrition I didn’t have any cramping or stomach pains during my run. Also, training prepared me to pace myself, slower then I was use to but at a pace that kept me comfortable. As long as I was under 12 minutes a mile, I was happy. My overall goal for the marathon was to “FINISH,” by finish I meant completing all 26.2 miles! (Disney will sweep runners if they fall behind and won’t be able to finish at 16min/mile pace.)

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I had to stop for Wreck-It-Ralph and Vanellope Von Schweetz!

The morning of the marathon it was 30 degrees, along with wind chill which brought temperatures down to 18 degrees. Nonetheless it was freezing!! The only change I could make in my attire was adding a top layer, with the hopes that my legs would warm up. Just three days prior to the marathon the temps were looking to be a solid typical florida 77 degrees. I couldn’t have prepared myself if I wanted to, unless I put a treadmill in a freezer while training. It’s really what it felt like.

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Literally running through the pain! This was taken while at Hollywood Studios!

Once the gun went off for my corral it was game time. I tossed my throwaways and started down the road. I was freezing but my mind wasn’t focused on being cold, it was focused on watching my pace. I really didn’t want to leap out and tire out too quickly. The first 10 miles flew by, I had ran out of Epcot and through the Magic Kingdom. The one thing about the WDW Marathon is WDW is huge and you cover a lot of highways and parking lots. Once you get in the Parks it feels good to be able focus your eyes on something. This allowed me to use my highway miles as a way to pick up pace and the Parks as a place to slow down a little bit. By the halfway point, I was feeling good. It was smack in the middle of Animal Kingdom and I couldn’t believe how good I felt. I was still cold but it didn’t really bother me. I watched as some runners stopped at a bar and had a drink at the halfway mark, good for them I thought. There’s no way I could ever do that, lol. Heading out of Animal Kingdom and my way to the ESPN Park there was a lot of nothing, my mind started to race and I kept checking my watch. I was calculating numbers when I didn’t have to and was reminding myself, my goal for this race was not to come in first or last but, just to finish!! The idea of “just” finishing was hard to accept but with so many unexpected changes the weekend brought, it was all I could grasp. Although an ideal time for me to finish was 05:00:00 hours.

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My oldest son was signed up to participate in the Saturday Kid’s Races, which were cancelled due to weather. However, we had fun later in the week and did our own 100m dash!

Miles came easier and my legs only felt stronger through the ESPN Park. Up until mile 20 I was soaring. In between mile 20 and 21 my left knee started to hurt. Through training I never experienced anything like this with my knees especially my left. So I was really caught off guard. As the pain escalated, I only begun to grow more frustrated. I wrestled with the idea I was undertrained, didn’t stretch enough, or maybe should have taken a pain killer, even though I’m too chicken to even take an Advil. The runner in me couldn’t imagine walking the remaining 4 miles, that would be the longest 4 miles ever!!! So I had to think fast, while I DO NOT recommend training your mind to think this way in case you may have a serious injury. I DO recommend learning how to use mottos and positive self talk in order to push your runs. I started to tell myself the “pain” was me growing stronger. I stopped at a medical tent at mile 22 and took a moment to stretch, and started to push myself up the road. I was just starting uphill on an offramp that would take me over and into Hollywood Studios. Uphill was grueling and as I came down the ramp, I straighten my left leg to keep it from bending, I built momentium and powered into Hollywood Studios. The Parks had just opened at this point and crowds started to form around the blocked off areas for runners. This was an adrenaline boost for me, it let me really meditate on my surroundings and off of my pain. I left out the park and started around the Swan Resort, another fun sight to keep me focused.  I had two miles to go at this point and I wasn’t planning on slowing down, a quick mile later I was already at Downtown Disney. That last mile the crowds grew bigger and louder, with that much excitement all you want to do is finish strong! Before I knew it I was rounding the corner to a finish line! At that moment nothing hurt, I was overwhelmed with emotion, and was tearing up. As I crossed the finish line, as cliche as it sounds…a part of me changed. I know many runners say this but it does. You feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders you never knew was there. I had started a mission months before the race, I had weak moments, I had strong moments, I stayed focused, and it was finally finished.

Post Race Photo!

Post Race Photo! “I DID IT!!”

Shortly after the finish line, I was reunited with Mav. My Mother-in-Law had flown down from DC for the weekend and watched the boys. It was still too cold for them to join me at the Friends and Family Area. It wasn’t too long before the warmth of the race wore off and we ventured back to our Hotel. My official finish time was 05:34:33.  A half hour later then I had anticipated but I had a time that represented, “I finished.” I was cloud 9 for about a day after obtaining the Marathoner title before I knew I wanted to do another one, lol. It’s funny how that happens. I registered for the LA Marathon in March and I’m now training to not just, “finish” but to run at solid pace that is similar to what I have ran my half-marathons. I’m happy I made WDW my first marathon, I learned a lot from the course. I had fun, stopped at photo ops, and took advantage of every water station. The runners were great as well and enjoyed meeting so many different people. I hope to eventually return to the WDW Marathon in the future but for now I’m glad I was at least able to check it off my bucket list.

My WDW Marathon Splits - overall: 05:34:33 for 12:46mi/pace (I managed to stay within my goal pace for a majority of race, slowing down at mile 22) 

My WDW Marathon Splits – overall: 05:34:33 for 12:46mi/pace (I managed to stay within my goal pace for a majority of race, slowing down at mile 22)

 

Rock ‘N’ Roll Las Vegas – Strip at Night 2016

Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas: Strip at Night

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas: Strip at Night

Over this past weekend I ran what is known as “The Super Bowl” of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series: RNR Las Vegas aka Strip at Night.

Strip at Night is now one of my favorite runs. It’s crazy, fun, and flat! lol. When I first signed up for the run all I wanted was to PR. I knew I was going to be 12 weeks out from having Little Little and with that, I would have limited time to train. I figured the time I was up against was from the Tinkerbell Half-Marathon, which I ran 6 months pregnant. Without carrying the extra weight, I knew I had this.

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packet pick up! woohoo

Vegas is Vegas, I never thought I would find myself running along the Strip. Even when I lived in Vegas I opted for treadmills versus the Strip. However, there was something about this race that made me all about it. The fact that it was at night and they actually close down the Strip is amazing! Also, Vegas holds a lot of memories for me, good and bad. I had this mindset that running miles through some wild moments in my life would be refreshing.

There’s 4 distances you can choose from for RNR Las Vegas: 5k, 10k, half-marathon, and marathon. You also have the option of doing the “Remix Challenge” which include the 5k on Saturday and the half or full marathon Sunday. I was signed up for the half-marathon. Since I was planning to PR, I didn’t do the challenge. I’m sure in the future I’ll be up for challenges but, I really want to do my best at races. My races hold me accountable and they aren’t cheap, hahaha. I’ll sign up for challenges when I know I’m strong enough to take them on and achieve my best time in each distance. I only had 6 weeks to train but training was going well. I was feeling stronger each run and really gaining spend. Two weeks prior to RNR I ran my fastest 10k and was working on a sub  2 hour half-marathon. Anyways, that was at least my goal.

I arrived in Vegas on Friday. My Sister, Little Little, and I drove up in the morning and got into town just in time to pick up Mav from the airport. Mav had work obligations that didn’t allow him to drive with us. Everything all worked out though. We checked into our hotel and I even packed my foam roller to stretch those IT bands! On Saturday we ventured over to the Health & Fitness Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center to pick up my race packet. I’m a sucker for these things, as most runners. There was more opportunities to buy “everything,” which you really want to do. You get to meet up with other runners and take promo pics with sponsors. All and all, it’s super fun and addicting. That night I really wanted to avoid overworking myself, at the same time it was hard to adjust my head to I wasn’t running a race in the morning but later Sunday evening. In Vegas, I always at least walk over 20k steps so I kept that down and also watched how long I wore my heels out for dinner. Before I knew it, it was race day and I really tried hard to balance breakfast/lunch since I was running at 4:30 PM. This year they decided to have waves of runners along with the normal corrals. There was 3 waves: 4:30-5:00-5:30, depending on the color bib & number you had determined your start. I was in the first wave, this was based off my estimated finished time. I ended up eating a small meal around noon of chicken & pasta. Which was perfect because that 4 hour timeframe was just enough to digest my food and keep me energized.

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compliments of Richard aka @BlingWhore

I headed over to the race a little early to join a #werunsocial meet-up. I’m so glad I did, I ended up meeting a great group of runners that run a lot of the races I do or will do. I always find myself running solo and while I don’t mind it because I feel it’s when I find myself. It’s also nice to recognize an amazing running community and hang out with others who share the same love I do for the sport. We all hung out right up until it was time to head over to the corrals, a lot of the runners were in the same wave as me so we went out together. When I first started out, I started out with the crew up until the “Welcome to Las Vegas Sign.” The crew had ran the Avenger’s half that morning so RNR was a fun run for them. This was a going to be a PR race for me so I split off and started my way down the strip. The first 3 miles flew by in breeze, I was really surprised how I was maintaining a good pace. If I still wanted my sub -2 I was going to have work for it in negative splits. My mindset at mile 5 was strong and I really thought I could still do it until mile 8 where the course turns off the Strip and into some weird areas. These areas are well lit by the race organization and they also have more bands playing then they do along the strip but for some reason I fought with myself on the pace I wanted to keep. I slowed down a little and told myself I would pick back up once I hit Fremont Street, which leads back down the Strip. I was able to pick up my pace a little bit. Once again, I found my high and kept a strong 8-9 minute pace until Stratosphere, which was 2.1 miles from the finish. This is where I really wanted to quit, I looked at my time and knew I wasn’t going to hit my training goal of a sub -2. I still was going to PR but it wasn’t the time I had planned. This really took a toll on my focus and I slowed down even more. I couldn’t believe I was telling myself to just give up, not literally but I wasn’t being positive. Finally, I got the motivation to finish, thank goodness! I paced back up to 9:20 and quickly started approaching the Mirage, where the finish line was. I finally reached the finish line and set a new PR at 2:07:04!
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the bling 😍

Shortly after finishing I met up with Mav, Little Little, and my sister. Little Little wanted to nurse right away, which worked for

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nbd, just feeding my small child on Las Vegas Blvd 😂

me because I needed the relief, lol. As I sat on the curb of the intersection of Flamingo and Las Vegas Blvd with a boob out surrounded by lights. I took a deep breathe and teared up a bit, so many emotions filled my mind. The Strip had seen the worst and best of me. I never thought in years I’d be sitting there after completing a half-marathon feeding my 3 month old son, it was surreal. Life is strange but it’s moments like these I live for.

So would I run Strip at Night again? YES, YES, YES!! My sister already made me promise we are all running together next year, including Mav and her BF. Hopefully in a year I’ll be good for the “Remix Challenge.” I guess if I made the 5k a fun run, it would make sense. I guess we’ll have to see. I’m about 7 weeks out now from my first Marathon in Orlando. I’m excited and so nervous. I really want me to think of 26.2 miles the way I do of 13.1. I know I’ll get there, hopefully sooner than later. Right now, my training puts me at a few miles each day and really no rest days. I need to continue to build strength and gain speed. All I can say is thank goodness I made my first marathon a Disney run, lol. At least I have the excuse to stop and take pics through the 4 parks without feeling guilty for losing some time. Right now, I’ll continue to celebrate my new PR for my half-marathon and keep that my focus through training.RNR_05