Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another Week of the Crossfit Experiment

This Crossfit experiment is so insanely hard. It isn't the workouts, although they are ridiculously tough most days it is having the patience to not put in the miles. It is trusting that the Crossfit workouts will do their thing and make me a better runner even though; I am not necessarily running during them. I try to go balls to the wall in every workout, to make sure I am getting the most out of every second I am at the box (gym in CF speak). But the patience... the patience... ahhhhhhhhhh!!!

On Tuesdays I do my long run. I have been trying to get in a 20 miler each week and then the rest of the week I don't worry so much about mileage I just get in some short ones. But, the last few weeks those 20 milers have been hard, I am dragging by mile 15 and well that is sort of scary for me. 15 miles should be an easy run for me and lately it has been a chore. Today I wanted to show my legs who was boss (what was I thinking?) and I did a 27 mile run. OMG! It was hard; it wasn't a little hard it was A LOT hard. I did manage to crank out the last few miles at around an 8mm pace but the struggle to get to mile 27 was ridiculous. I am left wondering...

Is it the Crossfit? Is the less running ruining my endurance? Are my muscles so tired that I shouldn't expect them to put in a long run? I just don't know. I don't have the answer. My gut tells me that I am strong; I am stronger than I have been in over 15yrs but am I a better runner? Should that matter?

All I know for sure right now is that, I am exhausted, smashed, destroyed, etc... from my run today and my arms hurt so badly it is stupid (from Saturday and Monday's CF workout) so, ummmm... I guess that means I am doing something right, :).

Happy Thanksgiving All!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This Week

This week I decided next year I would do 3 ultras: Mississippi 50 in March, VT100 in July and Heartland100 in October.  I plan to use Mississippi as a gauge as to how well Crossfit is working for me. 

I am now going to Crossfit 3 times a week.  Which is about 3hrs of cross training which, I am translating to 18 miles of running.  So, if I would usually run 80 miles on said week now I will run 62 miles along with Crossfit.  I am super excited to see how this works out for me.  There are some things I am already noticing.  Last week on Tuesday I was out running a 20 miler, my endurance is definitely starting to fade in the off season and it should a little.  This is supposed to be a down time but, I was a little scared when at mile 12 I was feeling tired.  At around mile 17 I realized something was up with my route and I was going to get back to the car at 19 miles and I could either run in circles to get another mile or just drop the hammer and make the last two miles count.  I decided to go all out and I mean all out.  I stood up straight, concentrated on having my legs rotate under me, I pulled in my core, and hot damn my old sticks took off.  When I peaked at Garmin she said I was running a 7:05, then I hit a hill and I dropped to a 7:15, what the heck...7:15 going up hill, me, Tara Tosta... whose legs were these?  Then I hit the down hill dropping below the 7mm mark.  Holy Crap! I was flying and I felt awesome.  Ummmmm....I guess Cross Fit is working for me.  Those boys may have hosed my shoulder for a few weeks but in return they are giving me speed. Wahoooooo!!!!

I am going to have to make sure I keep my long runs up in order to preserve my endurance but,  I am loving the feeling of being stronger over all.  There are days I walk into the gym and think...WTF! But then, I actually do said work out and am so dang proud.  One day this week I walked in to see ropes hanging from the ceiling and I thought, oh no, because you know the boys didn't hang them there for decoration, you know before they even say it that they are going to want you to climb to the top of those suckers but you know what...I did it.  I climbed the rope, like a little kid, I climbed that rope not like Phil my monkey friend who took to rope climbing like a gazelle takes to running but, I did it!  I used the first method described here but you should know if you do that method with running shorts on you are going to get a rope burn on your ankle, ughhhhhh.

On Thursday I walked into Crossfit to see that Austin (one of the two trainers that run our sessions) had come up with some frickin nutso workout for us that included Wall Climbs.  Wall Climbs????? I scratched my head and thought "OH NO."  If it sounds odd it is never good.  I am including a video of a Crossfit Wall Climb.So Austin's idea of a good time was: 2 x (1 wall climb, 25 burpees, 1 wall climb, 25 push ups, 1 wall climb, 25 box jumps, 1 wall climb, 25 air squats, 1 wall climb, 25 kettle bell swings).  I don't know if you noticed but the whole wall climb, burpee, push up combo, well it is a ton of arms.  I was so wiped out I was crouched gasping for air and praying I could get up the wall.  Yes I skinned my knees on the wall, you can do that if you are exhausted and your legs just fall down the wall as your arms give out.  Who knew? 

So to summarize the week: rope burn + wall burn + one long run = good week of working out.

45 miles this week, wooot wooot!!!!

Now to try and work in time to fix up this house.

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Training Plan

Yesterday I posted I am toying with a new training idea.  The plan isn't solid yet but, it is close enough and already in action.  I am doing an experiment that hopefully won't hose up the next ultra season.  I love running there is no doubt about that.  I love long races, I love love love a race that cuts you to your core and makes you question everything and then that awesome feeling of climbing out of that pain cave and finishing the race.  100 miles hurts, there is no way around that.  But, maybe I can train different, eehhhhhhh, goes against my whole "you have to run to be a better runner" saying but, maybe just maybe I could use some cross training :).  Ok for sure I could use some cross training, my core is ridiculously week, my arms are useless sticks and that leaves me with over sized legs and glutes.  So, I could definately use some cross training but, how far do I take this cross training?  That is the question right?

Da da da...and here comes my adventures in Crossfit Training.  I have only been at it for a little over a month but dang I am already feeling stronger.  I can already more easily bound up hills.  The classes are downright humiliating some days, humbling others and kick ass every day.  I pretty much suck at the workouts and have to scale them down to weights I can actually lift while the little 100lb girl next to me whips the prescribed weight around like it is a paper sack.  Nahhhh, that isn't embarrassing at all.  I have to keep in mind that I am competeing with myself and that I haven't lifted in over 20yrs.  At the end of the workouts I always feel like my heart is going to pop.  The Heart Popping is what made me think the new plan could work.

What if...I cut down mileage and include Heart Popping crosstraining?  The experiment is to decrease mileage to 30-50 miles a week and add in crossfit.  I plan to sign up for a 50 miler in March.  That will be my measuring stick.  If I can run around a 9hr, 50 miler then the crossfit is working, if it is a struggle then I will go back to more running and less crosstraining (I won't cut it out all together but it will have to decrease a ton to make time for running).  I am not sure you can really train for 100 miles running only 50 miles a week, that sounds nuts but the CF people swear by it.  I guess there is only one way to find out and it seems like a fun experiment.  If nothing else maybe they can make my arms strong enough that I can run on my hands when my legs get tired, lol. 

I have met some awesome people at Crossfit.  One of them is a triathalete.  I feel like she really gets where I am at and the whole ultra running thing.  Laura is helping me figure out how to use CF to supplement/replace some of my running.  I love having someone to bounce this plan off of.  I will keep you posted on how us old ladies do with this whole Crossfit thing.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

24hr Race from Crew's Perspective

As most of you know I have been quite lucky with crew and pacers at my races.  The running mamas have come through for me each and every time.  Even when people have fallen out for different reasons they have managed to juggle kids, jobs, races, etc. to make it to the race and help me out.  I am one lucky girl to be a part of such an awesomely supportive group of women.  Us Running Moms come in all shapes in sizes,  all speeds, and  all distances, that if you ask me is why we ROCK!!!!! 

I wrote a Race Report from my perspective on the 24hr Race but here is a link to Kelly's perspective.  She and Candice came through big time when at the last minute one of the mom's had a medical emergency and wasn't sure if she could make it (and she shouldn't have but of course she (Denise) is a machine so she still made it to the race). 

I will post in the next few days about my latest training ideas.  I am doing an experiment.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I haven't been on here much lately.  I have been running but, just haven't felt like writing about it.  I went to the Doctor after the last race and got an MRI of the foot.  Well...my sesamoid has chondramalacia.  SAY WHAT?  Yep, that little sucker got so pissed off about all the pounding it was taking that, it up and turned to moosh.  That might not be the technical explanation but, it is the reality.  In some cases if it is caught early this condition can be turned around.  Who here thinks the year I ran on it constitutes taking it easy and catching it early?  Yah, I suspect I hosed that sucker up good.  I now have orthodics to help relieve some of the pressure but most likely this isn't going to heal fast if at all.  So, I did what any normal runner would do.  I found something even more insane to do while I have downgraded my mileage.  I joined Crossfit.

Somehow I thought that my ability to run 100 miles meant I was in pretty good shape but Crossfit has made me see the light.  These workouts make me feel like a super wimp and totally exhausted.  I love it.  Well, I don't love getting my ass handed to me each day but, I do love pushing myself.  I also love seeing what these amazing women (my class is almost always only women).  There are little ladies in the class doing pull ups in a piked position, I kid you not, it is insane and phenomenal all at the same time.  I don't see me getting to the level I can do those I do see that already I am getting stronger and my trail running is reaping the benefits. 

This week I was running Pine Mtn to get to my crossfit workout and I basically bounded up the mountain, these workouts are totally making my climbing legs stronger.  I am keeping my mileage low for the winter (30-50 miles/wk) and am going to turn up the heat on some cross training.  Wooot wooot!  So, if you are looking for a super awesome workout I recommend trying a crossfit workout.  They are completely awesome. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

North Coast 24hr Endurance Challenge Race Report

 Quick Details for all of you who don't want to read the entire Race Report: Made it the entire 24hrs (right up until the horn) and ran I think 97.8-98 miles (not sure because they haven't posted the last lap yet).

For those of you in for the long haul, buckle up...here we go!  "Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will land among the stars" -Litrell.  My Dad used to use that quote a lot.  It is a great way to live your life and it is the only way to be an ultra runner, right?  You have to dream big and go for it.  While I had a goal of hitting over 100 miles I only hit 98 (approximately) but if I hadn't shot for the moon I wouldn't have even run the race.  I ran a solid 98 mile race, I did the absolute best I could on that given day with the knowledge I had and I am happy/proud of myself.  Here is how it all began...

As most of you know this was my first time attempting two 100 mile events a month apart, actually this was my first time attempting two ultras a month apart (if you don't count 30 mile training runs back to back, and I don't).  I had no idea what to expect from my body.  After Headlands 100 I felt totally trashed, every part of my body hurt including my internal organs (I can elaborate on that later if anyone wants to know), I took a week and a half off from running, minus chasing Chloe around sandy beaches in CA.  Once I got back on the running bandwagon I didn't accumulate more than 40 miles in a given week and then it was time to race again.  Needless to say that left me feeling like non-ultra running blob heading into this race.  I had some other nagging injuries popping up and well I just didn't know what I could expect from my body but, I wanted to get out there and have some fun. 

I flew to Cleveland on Friday afternoon. I went to the grocery store (which was called the Giant Eagle, what the heck kind of name is that, who would know that was a grocery store, it sounds like a hunting store to me, sorry, I got off track) and bought my supplies, you know the ones for geriatrics and teens, a years supply of ensure and potato chips, lol, it is the fuel of champions.  Loaded up with supplies I went back to my room and packed everything in 100 calorie bags for the crew (ummmmm, I might be slightly OCD but hey if you think I am anal about this stuff you haven't met Kaci, bahahahaha, OMG we must have been separated at birth).  Kaci (Crew Chief extraordinaire) came in with her family on Friday night.  Saturday AM Kaci and I met in the lobby and headed to the race.  Of course Kaci had written down directions to everything so we found the course with only one wrong turn and that was google maps fault, truly.

Kaci and I arrived at the course way too early but, well, early is sort of my middle name.  I should have been named Tara Early Tosta, sort of has a ring to it.  So we got there and staked our claim to a nice camp site next to a .9 loop around a totally plain park and I thought "Oh My Frick'in God What Was I THINKING." We went and picked up my packet and then waited for the race to start.  About an hour before the race Jamie Donaldson marched down the path and struck claim to a site right across from ours, oh my I was in heaven.  To be so close to my idol.  It was even nice to be repeatedly lapped by her for the first 6hrs (she stopped at the 6hr mark).  Kaci and I set up my food and what not on a table right at the edge of the course.  She had everything, tent, blow up mattress, table, chairs, etc... it was plush, that is how we Running Moms roll :). 

Then it was 9am, time to roll those podcasts and get er done.  For a while I would keep track of how many laps I was doing an hour, I would do the math on distance, I would think about the people lapping me and wonder about those I passed, I would listen to part of a podcast and then repeat.  Really I just sort of ran and zoned.  It wasn't really as bad as you would think.  My body felt pretty darn good and it was amazing to see the best of the best go round and round.  Connie Gardner (who won with over 144 miles) was absolutely phenomenal to watch, she never wavered, she just ran and ran and ran.  when else can you see the super heros of your sport as often as on a nice cozy .9 mile loop, if you think of it that way it is lucky to be on a short course.  Not much happened between 0-50 miles, I ran, Kaci did an awesome job crewing, Denise (another awesome running mama) showed up to help crew and added to the camp site and then Kaci's family (Dynamo Dave and her kids) came for a while.  I let Kaci know that at 6pm I would stop to change my shoes and change to tights.  I stopped we got me changed and off I went.  I don't remember my foot hurting so bad in the first half of the race but, by 60 miles my dog was barking.  I wasn't sure what to make of it.  It was the same foot that has been giving me fits since Lone Ranger so...errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  I knew I might have to ice it or something. 

When mile 65 came along I hit medical, I figured they could ice it and maybe tape it or something.  The first Doc there said he thought I probably had a stress fracture but, he couldn't say without an x-ray, I could tape it and press on if I wanted but that could make a break worse, if it was a fracture.  I thought taping it sounded great (Duhhh I had already put in 65 miles stopping wasn't an option at that point).  Oh did I forget to say that since Headlands my 2nd Metatarsal had been hurting as well, he didn't like the sounds of that, that one was swollen and it hurt to move my toes down.  I said press with the taping.  While two girls (who seemed to be students???) taped my foot, a second doc came to see what they were doing and, she decided that that 2nd metatarsal was just dislocated (in the wrong spot, didn't know they could move) so she said "this might hurt" grabbed my foot and yanked on that area with a nice solid tug or two and then proudly stated she thought she got it as I withered in pain and the girls stared on in horror.  They ever so gently taped the whole area and sent me on my way.  I stopped told Kaci and Denise what had gone on and kept going but, now it was a walk/jog. 

As the night wore on my jogging got less and my walking more. At some point in there my ipod died and thank goodness for Dynamo Dave (yes that is how I will now and forever refer to Kaci's husband and if you ever meet him you will know why) he came through with his mp3 player and I got to listen to some of the funniest and greatest music.  Oh man the music had me laughing.  My caffeine intake increased as did my gingerale as my stomach went into the crapper (ummm literally, sorry TMI).  At around mile 85 I told the girls I had to ice the foot, I just couldn't take it anymore.  Oh dang I forgot, I don't know how because they were totally awesome, by this time Candice and Kelly had shown up as reinforcements and had been to Running Mom boot camp on how to crew (given my Denise and Kaci, they say they were scared but they loved it :)).  I sat down and I think at first we tried just elevating my foot, I took off and immediately turned around and that is when we got ice and wrapped the foot up.  After about 15-20 minutes of icing and elevating it, we got my shoe back on (note to self: don't have anyone else tie your shoe on a hurt foot, lol) and off I went.  From there on out I didn't stop again just cranked through the end of the race.  At one point the guy in charge of the scores told me I could make 100 miles if I ran 9mm or something and I tried, really I did, but I crashed and burned after two laps, gosh darn I was just done done done done done.  My legs were too pooped to pop and well my foot was stupid.  I just entered my pain cave and marched on until the horn blew, I decided I didn't care how much anything hurt I wasn't stopping for anything. 

All in all it was a GREAT race.  I am proud of it.  I worked so hard and I learned that even coming off a 100 miler my body will still hook me up with another hard core race.  My crew was beyond amazing.  I can't believe how awesome they were.  Kaci and her family were just beyond words, no honestly don't even know where to begin.  Denise was a fire cracker, despite having been in the hospital all week she came out and helped out, cheered me on and organized the rest of the crew.  Kelly and Candice showed up during the best time for me to have bright bubbly people around and just pushed me on.  The whole crew was just unbelievably amazing.  I only wish I could have spent more time with them.

There have been some points post race that I have been down about my mileage but then I think of a line from one of my favorite poems "never compare yourself to others for there will always be those that are greater and lesser than you" -Erhman.  True enough.  If I compare myself to the likes of Connie Gardner I look like a total wimp mileage wise but, if I look at me, me on that day, with my training, with my body, with my life, how did that person do, I know I did the best I could.  I worked so hard for every mile. 

I need to get some sleep so that is all for now.  I will post more later and maybe the crew will write up their thoughts on the race. 

Happy Running Everyone!  Be the best you can be.

Kaci and Denise

The Nash Clan

The Camp Site and Kaci looking on
Kaci and Candice

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I have mentioned in past posts that I have another ultra coming up.  It is the North Coast 24 hr race in Cleveland.  When I signed up I did it thinking I would already be trained up from Headlands and it would be awesome to see some of the big names in ultra running even if it was as they lapped me repeatedly.  I still think it will be awesome to see the big names in ultra running but, I question the training part of my plan.  I came off of Headlands barely being able to walk and with bruised feet, it took over a week for me to be able to run normal.  Since that race I haven't had a week over 36 miles.  I didn't know whether to taper, to rest and heal, or to train.  So here I am a week out from the race and wondering to myself what exactly are my goals.  What can I expect from my legs and feet at this point in the game and how frick'in boring is it going to be to run a .9 mile (oh yes I said .9 and it is FLAT, ughhhh,  my quads are secretly happy) loop over and over and over and over ....again.  Are there even enough pod casts recorded to make that .9 mile loop enjoyable tolerable? Oh man!

Here is what it comes down to: I am probably in slightly worse shape than I was going into Headlands but I have slightly more confidence.  24hrs is a ridiculous amount of time to run for and the .9 mile loop is just off the charts nut-so.  I am slightly nuts so that might be a good fit.   I have an awesome running mom (Thank you so much Denise Carter) and maybe two meeting me there to help me out.  So what should my goals be???? I would love love love to break 100 miles and know that I can but, I also don't want to set my goals too high.  I honestly have no idea if my left foot and hip are willing to go the distance with me and I am terrified, yes I used the T word, of the wee hrs of the morning when I seem to have issues with bonking.  Gosh Darn, I bonked so hard at Headlands I can still feel how bad it hurt deep in my core to have to stay awake but, then I didn't bonk at Heartland but, then I did at Lone Ranger and at Rocky.  Oh man, I really hope the bonk doesn't come and kick my butt it is way worse than the pain in your legs and feet.  The bonk is a mean old bugger, it kicks you in the A$$ and then makes you question yourself and your abilities.  I HATE the bonk.  Oh yes, sorry, back to expectations and goals, if all goes well, meaning my foot and hip hold out I want to hit 110 (yep I put it in writing) if all doesn't go well then I hope I run a smart race.

Happy Running All!   I am off to get a run in (still not sure if I am tapering or training).

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Power!!!!! Yippeeeee...oh how I heart power.  I didn't realize just how much I love running water until it was gone.  Irene that B*!ch took out our power and that in turn took out our water so, since last Sunday we have been without power and water.  Not to worry folks, if you think not being able to shower would make me think twice about going for a run you are sorely mistaken.  My awesome buddy Bethany once was quoted in the New York Times that baby wipes are the perfect shower for a mama on the go (I paraphrase) and well she was correct.  I actually didn't mind me stinking (neighbors might have) so much as I just missed running water.  We had to haul lake water up to the house a few times a day to keep our toilets flushing, for drinking water we had to drive to town and fill up our containers with a hose.  It was kind of fun but, well it got old. 

On Thursday I decided to take Chloe up to my sisters house so we could just enjoy a normal living for a few days.  Last night one of my neighbors reported power was back on and then Doug texted at like 2am (when he got home, he was flying) that sure enough our house has power, wahooooooo!!!!!!

Back to running, yesterday I went for a quick run up here in VT.  I only had an hour so I had to make the most of it and I decided to jam out a 7 mile loop I had mapped out in a past visit (didn't bring Garmin, she was dead from no power and well my 405 is a piece of crap, it is NEVER accurate anymore).  Back to the 7 mile loop.  I went out hard, knowing my legs have been sluggish all week but were starting to feel like my old legs.  Holy cow I was cranking, I felt like my old self, like the runner that existed in June prior to over training and then running a 100 mile race, that runner.  I was flying and it felt awesome.  I got the loop done in 50 minutes and was darn pleased with myself. 

I don't know what to expect for this upcoming 24hr race, don't even know what to do training/taper wise but I am going for it.  I just love pushing myself. 

Happy Running All!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Chloe Moment

I was going to write a Post about how important Crews are to ultra's or how trashed my quads are and my worries over how to train from here but then today I saw the most impressive display of Perseverance. 

You see I think the most important determining factor of success for a 100 mile race is attitude and perseverance.  I wonder all the time if people are born with perseverance or if they develop a never give up attitude through out life.  I still don't know the answer but I now can tell you there is some sort of innate sense in kids that allows them to just keep going. Duhhh....right, they have to learn to walk and talk and well do everything adults can do, it is a long hard process.  Ehhh but this is my blog so I am still going to share my proud mama moment.

Chloe my sweet sweet 3yr old (no i am not biased, lol) wants more than anything to be a Hockey player like her Dad, Brothers and Cousin Joe.  She is in a week long skating/hockey camp this week but, she hasn't been on the ice in months.  On Monday she went out there and repeatedly fell and got up for over an hour.  She never gave up, she never cried, she didn't even get help from the coaches.  She isn't a crier and the wheel that doesn't squeak doesn't get attention so, there she was out on the ice, out of my reach and my heart broke as I watched her try over and over again to skate.  By today she was still the slowest kid but now she was gliding and learning to skate backwards and still trying.  Watching makes me want to cry or rush out and help her but you know thank goodness for this sport.  I get to watch my daughter fight, I get to see what she is made of, she gets to see what she is made of.  I am so proud of her.  I don't think at 3yrs old I could have spent an hour falling down and standing back up over and over again and not cried or stormed off the ice but, she can.

My little Chloe showed me the definition of Perseverance today and I cannot tell you how proud I am of her.  She is amazing.  Anytime a race gets hard I am going to think of today and watching her fight so patiently for her goal. 

Ironically I have always hoped that Chloe would learn from my example.  That she would know a person can do absolutely anything they put their mind to.  That there are no limits except the ones we impose on ourselves but....ummmm...well she seems to already understand that.  Who is the parent here anyway??? LOL. 

Happy Running All!!

Hope you find a Chloe moment this week. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Headlands 100 - Race Report

I know I am super late getting this Race Report written but I was on the road and what not, blah, blah, blah...I will give you the quick and dirty first in case you don't want to read about a race at nauseum.  I did finish Headlands 100miler.  It was frickin ridiculously hard.  I was the second woman, 17th person overall, time was 26:56 and that is the 7th fastest time a woman has ever run that course. Each loop had 5,017 ft of elevation gain and loss multiply that by 4 and elevation gain was 20,068ft overall, HOLY CRAP! I DID THAT.  No wonder my quads hurt.
Jimmi and I getting my number

Oh dear was I praying already???
We left from Modesto at 3am on race day.  Jimmi drove since I was a basket case and wanted to try and rest.  Needless to day I didn't rest much but it felt good to just prattle on with Jimmi and Cathy.  Thank goodness another runner let us follow her to the course there is no way we would have found the starting line on our own.  We got to the race before they were set up so we just hunkered down in the car and waited.  It was cold outside.  Who knew San Fransisco was so dang cold in the middle of the summer.  I know I know, already heard the quote no need to leave me a commet.  After a while they set up the check in and we went and claimed my number and shirt (I had a picture with Cathy too but can't find it anywhere, errrr).  Next they had a prerace meeting 10 minutes before the start and then they sent us on our way.  I knew after the first 12 miles or so that this race was going to SERIOUSLY suck rocks.  Going up the hills wasn't nearly as bad as going down.  Each 25 mile loop basically consisted of climbing in and out of valleys and it was brutal. 
There were three spots on the course where we back tracked so I always knew how I was doing place wise.  That sort of rocked and sucked at the same time.  It was nice to know i was in second but sucked to see the first place girl charging up the mountains like she was part goat or something, lol.  I knew from the get go that the only way I would catch her was if she just stopped and she was a rock star so she just kept on going and won the sucker.  She was amazing. 
Ok back to my race.  We started off on a climb, ran over a ridge and down to Tennesee Valley, then back out of the Valley to the ridge and down to Pirates Cove, then back up to the ridge and all the way to the beach at Muir, then back to the top of the ridgeline and back to Tennesse Valley and then yep you guessed it, back to the top and over to the Golden Gate Bridge and all the way down to the base of the bridge and then finally back to the top and down the other side and around to the Start/Finish.  The climbing was no joke.  The entire trek down to the base of the bridge was single track and in some places stepping aside was stepping off the side of a cliff (that got dicey after dark).  I felt pretty great my first loop, I knew it was going to be hard but I was in great spirits.  I saw Jimmi and Cathy at the 12 mile mark and they quickly sent me on my way.  I cannot even express how much it lifted my spirits everytime I got to see the crew, it just made my heart happy.  I finished that loop with no issues. 

I met the crew (which now included my cousin Todd and his super star wife Kathrin) and we got me turned around quickly and off I went again.  With Todd there the crew could now navigate their way to multiple check points (they were tough to find but Todd was a navigation wiz).  I saw them at the base of the Golden Gate and then again at Tennesse Valley for both times I went through there.  I was feeling pretty good on this loop but dreaded right off the stupid climb and decent to the Golden Gate (remember I had just done that on teh last loop and then reversed course and immediatelly had to tackle it again, blechhhhhhhh). About half way through this loop I realized it was the more difficult direction of the two and knew I wouldl have to do it again during miles 75-100, that did bug me a bit.  I ran into some awesome folks on this loop and got to talk a little which was a nice change from the podcasts I had been listening too but, I have to say that if the other runners aren't talking like they plan to finish it can plant seeds in your head about that same sort of thing.  I ran into two of those types and tried to just push on so I didn't have to listen to anything negative.  I also was begginning to realize I was pretty dang good on the up hills, as we worked our way up the mountains, Ii would pass a few men but then they wouldl cruise by me by the end of the downhill sections (so I need to work on that).  As I climbed out of Pirates Cove (up a bajillion stairs and rocky slope) I was a bit freaked that I had to do this section again.  I got back to the Start/Finish and John (1st pacer) was there waiting.  We changed up my clothes (yes I changed right in the start/finish area in front of everyone, I just didn't care) and shoes and off we went. 

John was the superstar of pacers, oh man, he was amazing.  He has raced a ton of ultras and paced a ton too.  He knew just what to do and when.  I didn't have to say anything, he would just grab gear get it filled and meet me back up the road.  He knew when to bug me about eating, when to push me and when to just lay off.  He kept a constant flow of positive energy and focus.  I am not messing around he was extaordinary.  Even on this loop I was starting to loose focus on the 24hr goal and say it was ok just to finish.  I was letting myself be ok with being less, that actually kind of bugs me but honestly not sure if I couldl have given much more than I did at this race.  We ran into some issues getting down to othe base of the Golden Gate and back up.  People were no longer able or willing to step aside on the single track section therefore there was a lot of falling and slipping.  I was having trouble with my footing at this point anyway so, it certianly didn't help to have to be watching out for other runners.  The fog was brutal, our visability with multiple headlamps and hand helds was zero so, I just stumbled along watching every step.  Once I fell and twisted my bad ankle and I was freaked, it was throbbing but John got me up and told me to run and I did, he was right, I just needed to get er moving and loosen it up again.  We made it back to the Start Finish and I had plenty of time to make the 24hr time (I had just over 1 more hour than it had just taken me to complete the last loop so, everything should have gone great right???). 

Oh poor Jimmi.  She got stuck with me at the worst time, she was such a trooper.  I just have no words...Off we went.  I told her right off I just wanted to keep moving even if it meant walking and walk we did.  I tried to shuffle when I could but dang my legs were beginning to reallly really really hurt.  We had to tackle the Golden Gate section right off and I was freaked because of the ankle on the last go round.  We stopped for every runner both coming and going and carefully stood to the side.  we were taking no chances with getting bumped or falling.  We made our way to the aid station and YET AGAIN there WAS NO COFFEE.  What the HECK!!!! Who doesn't serve coffee at an ultra?  It was the evil race director who made up the sadistic course, had to be, probably thought that would make it even more challenging and it did, lol.   Did I forget to say that the last time we were at this aid station there were police all over the place with guns drawn?  well there were.  Jimmin knew but didn't tell me at the time that they were looking for some guy who was on the loose, ahhhhhhhhh.  So we hit the aid station, don't get coffee, don't see the crazy guy and tried to get m&m's (I know I am a nutrition freak, lol) but, instead they gave us m&m pretzels, you should have seen me try and spit those out, I didn't want any morsel of taht gluten in me.  Oh and as we headed down the hill tehre was some guy standing around and I asked if he was waiting for someone, he said yes, me...oh dang, it was John (1st pacer) and I didn't even recognize hime.  Maybe that should have been mine and Jimmi's first clue I wasn't doing so well.  Ok so we head back out of the aid station me trying to comb pretzels from my toungue and Jimmi looking for a crazy man that might jump out and attack us and here is where I decide to take a nap.  WHAT!!!! a nap you say. Yep, I told Jimmi I just need a break and took off my pack and layed down on the trail, right there in crazy escape man territory.  Not to worry, I couldn't rest so we just got up and kept going.  We came up with a paln that we would rest at Tennesee Valley, get me warmer clothes and then tackle the last half of the loop wit hsome warm food and clothes.  So we pressed.  we got to the top of the ridge and worked our way onto the pink loop, or did we???? No that is right the psycho Race Director marked two gates with pink glow sticks both were to the left and so of course Jimmi and I headed off track.  I said "Jimmi this doesn't look familiar" but hey I was totally out of it so I am sure she was thinking why would I trust her.  We marched on and it only looked more and more unfamiliar.  We got to the top and there was a sign about bears and Jimmi immediately led me back down the way we came up as fast as my two legs would let us go.  So one mile later we were back on track and headed to Tennesee Valley.  When we got there I tried to nap but after a minute or two I got up and said lets just go finish this sucker.  we tried to change my clothes and we changed into my old Mizuno's (poor poor decision in hind sight) and off we went without enough lights and with some borrowed coffee(thank you to the volunteer who gave up his personal stash).  We trudged along just talking and trying to get er done.  Man, jimmi was a trooper, she just guided me along and kept the mood up beat

I learned a lot at this race.  I do now have a renewed sense that I can conquer anything I put my mind too.  I need to work on my downhill running.  I need to stop wearing Mizunos period, they clearly do not work for me.  I have to get a better headlamp.  I need ot pay better attention to the course at night.  But you know overall most of the race went right.  The crew and pacers rocked, every single one of them just did an amazing job.  My training is working for me and lets face it with my top priority being: being a mom and wife, I don't see me finding any more time to train.  So if the best I can get is 2nd with that, I am pretty darn happy with that.  I worked my butt off and dang that race was great. 

So what is next you ask??? A 24 hr race next month.  I know I know....I said Ii wouldn't do one again but well, I have to give it a whirl. 

Both feet were pretty badly bruised, yuck!

Awesome Rumming Mamas.  The day after the race.  Love you both and can't thank you enough.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Carl with a brand new Chloe

This is not meant to be a sad story but one of inspiration.  When I was younger I used to run all the time.  In elementary school I would often spend my afternoons at the track running circles.  I would bike up there and just run and run and run.  I felt free there.  I think my sister might have run Cross Country or tried out and that is how I heard of the sport.  Then in my last year at the Junior HS the High School suddenly let us 9th graders try out for their teams.  So after school I would walk or jog the mile or two to get to the cross country practice.  I made the team.  I don't believe we ever ran 3.1 miles at practice so the first race was a huge shocker for me.  My stepdad Carl made it to the race.  I was out on some course running in the trees and I was getting gosh darn tired.  I think it was around 2 miles that I saw Carl and then promptly tripped and fell.  He says I yelled at him not to touch me because I was worried about being disqualified.  I don't remember that.  I remember him being there and telling me I could do this.  Him being there and supporting me made me believe I could in fact do it.  I got up and finished.  I ended up finishing towards the top of my team even.  He was there for most of my races in High School. 

Today he couldn't be more proud of my running.  He often according to my Mom brags about my ultra running.  Unfortunately he is in the last days of his life.  He has been ill for quite sometime and he made a decision over a month ago to begin Hospice care.  Somehow amazingly he is still here.  He told my mom two days ago that he plans to stick around through the weekend for the race.  I tell you this not to be sad but, because I didn't always realize it but I was pretty lucky to have a stepdad like Carl.  So this weekends race will be with him in my thoughts, not thoughts of sadness but of happiness for the great life he lived and for all of his love and support.  Thanks Carl.  I now truly understand how hard being a stepparent is and you did it well.  I appreciate and love you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Headlands - Jimmi

Meet Jimmi
Oh man I can't wait to meet her.  I was supposed to meet Jimmi back in 2009 (I think)?  We were going to run her first marathon together but alas, the standby gods were not with me.  I sat at the airport all day long, walking from gate to gate trying to get a flight to Washington.  At 1030 pm I finally went home and never got to meet Jimmi or run RnR Seattle.  She had to run her first marathon solo, oh man did I feel awful about that but, she rocked it and now I get to meet her this weekend, wahoooooo.  I told her that it is helpful if she is a talker because I get pretty quiet at O'Dark 30 and she said something like "I don't mean to brag but my middle school teacher did say I have diarrhea of the mouth."  Bahahahaha.  Suffice it to say the little lady has a wicked sense of humor and a ton of spunk and I am so so SO looking forward to running with her.   

Stole this off her FB page. 

Name: Hello, my name is JimmiJoy Clairmont and I'm a runaholic.

You are a Running Mom so we already know you ROCK! So tell us what running accomplishment you are most proud of.
I can't say which accomplishment I'm most proud of because any time I cross a finish line, 5k to marathon, seems like such an accomplishment by a girl who once hated running. I did cry when I crossed the finish line of my first marathon; it was such an overwhelming feeling of pride, thankfulness and a little pain. There's nothing more wonderful than seeing your kids waiting at the end to cheer you across. 

What do you most look forward to in this race?
I'm so much looking forward to finally meeting Tara & Cathy. I joined the Running Moms group when I moved to Wisconsin in 2007. I didn't know a single soul, my husband was traveling a lot for work and I was at home with two little ones so the women in that group became my lifeline. Because of mi vida loca, I haven't been on CafeMom in a long time but I know that they'll be there to welcome me back. I've had the incredible opportunity to meet two of the group and can't wait to meet two more!

When do you think you are going to do an Ultra ?

I'm also hoping for some inspiration, by Tara & the other runners, that will make me want to run an ultra. I half-heatedly thought about it a few times and have plenty of opportunities in the Pacific NW but think if I experience it firsthand, I'll get bit by the bug.
What/When is your next race?
I am so excited about my next upcoming race . . . THE DUBLIN MARATHON!! My husband & I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in February and he said "We should do something amazing for our anniversary because we never do anything. You've always wanted to run Dublin Marathon, let's do it this year." Normally I would've lectured him on our finances, the kids & whatnot but in this instance I just said "ok!" The race is October 31st and then we'll have 7 more days in Ireland to do as we please. My in-laws will be traveling from MT to stay with our kids, get them to school, practices/games and all that fun stuff so I really don't think it could get much better!

Anything else we should know about you?
I'm a mom to two awesome kids and not a very good wife to a wonderful husband that loves me anyway:). I run, bike, crossfit, cook-bake-bartend for my neighborhood on a regular basis, tutor elementary students in reading, and am an unpaid employee of my kids' school. I'm very blessed.

And grateful! I get to go to San Francisco and be part of something wonderful and to do it with amazing people . . . can't wait!!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Headlands -MC

Meet Mama Cathy

Mama Cathy (or MC as most of us call her) is an awesome friend of mine.  She was there at my first 100 miler and walked me into the finish.  I was in rough shape at that race and she just gently pushed and nudged me on.  Then a month or so later I flew to Modesto to run her first marathon with her.  We have seen each other a handful of times since then.  She is one rocking lady.  She is a single mom of 5 girls, she works full time and finds time to run.  She is way stronger than she realizes and I feel super lucky that she is doing this race with me.  Actually wouldn't have even signed up for the race if she hadn't said she could be there.  I picked it because it was close to her and I thought we would have fun.  

Me and Mama Cathy runner her first marathon.  Wahoooooooo. I think she was most impressed with my version of a Chariots of Fire ballet while running, bahahahaha.  Ok she seemed slightly horrified at my singing and dancing at first but I think I wore on her over those 26 miles.

I sent out the following questions to Mama Cathy:

Name: Cathy
You are a Running Mom so we already know you ROCK! So tell us what running accomplishment you are most proud of.
I am most proud of training and finishing my first marathon. the bug has bit me:)

What do you most look forward to in this race?
The thing I look forward to in this race is spending time with two awesome running mamas who I adore and of course being at a race. I LOVE races!!

When do you think you are going to do an Ultra ?
OHHH the Ultra question, well I do have my sights on a 50k, will see how that goes:).

What/When is your next race?
 My next big race is Nike women's Marathon OCT 16th, I will be running with TEAM IN TRAINING and I love TEAM!!!  
Anything else we should know about you?
I love to run, I have 5 beautiful daughters and an awesome assortment of running and non-running friends that I adore!! I want to learn how to rock climb, kayak, do a triathlon someday and just ENJOY LIFE.....ITS SHORT LETS LIVE!!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Headlands-Meet the Crew

Race day is approaching quickly.  I have calmed down somewhat.  I am now looking forward to a long run and the hills well all I can do is tackle them one at a time.  I feel good about the race.  It may have more elevation gain than Leadville but then I have never shied away from a challenge.  This course may take over 24hrs on my good day but I will still get er done.  On that note I think it is time to meet the awesome folks that will be helping me out.  I will post pacers in another entry. 

I am lucky enough to have family in the San Fransisco area.  My cousin Todd and his wife Kathrin live in SF and actually seemed slightly excited to try out the whole crewing thing, bahahahahaha.  I would say that their enthusiasm is due to my lack of details on what crewing meant but, honestly I gave them the low down and they were still in.  Conclusion: They are related so they are probably slightly insane as well (must be in the gene pool).  They are the sweetest couple. 

Kathrin with Chloe.  We met up with them in VT in June.  They played with Chloe for hours, love love love that.

Todd and Chloe at Ben and Jerry's. 

Headlands-Meet the Crew

Race day is approaching quickly.  I have calmed down somewhat.  I am now looking forward to a long run and the hills well all I can do is tackle them one at a time.  I feel good about the race.  It may have more elevation gain than Leadville but then I have never shied away from a challenge.  This course may take over 24hrs on my good day but I will still get er done.  On that note I think it is time to meet the awesome folks that will be helping me out.  I will post pacers in another entry. 

I am lucky enough to have family in the San Fransisco area.  My cousin Todd and his wife Kathrin live in SF and actually seemed slightly excited to try out the whole crewing thing, bahahahahaha.  I would say that their enthusiasm is due to my lack of details on what crewing meant but, honestly I gave them the low down and they were still in.  Conclusion: They are related so they are probably slightly insane as well (must be in the gene pool).  They are the sweetest couple. 

Kathrin with Chloe.  We met up with them in VT in June.  They played with Chloe for hours, love love love that.

Todd and Chloe at Ben and Jerry's. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

2wk Out Freak Out

Headlands 100 miler is in 2wks.  I have run hard, I have trained super hard.  I have found every hill withing 30 miles of my town and run up and down it.  Am I ready for this race? 

I don't have a clue.  Begin...Freak Out Mode.  Where I start hyper organizing everything because it is all I can control at this point.  I mean look at these elevation charts, they don't look good clockwise or counter clockwise and in the end it is over 17K of elevation gain total.  Holy Shit!  Did I just say 17K of elevation gain?  Can my quads do that?  Will I even be able to get back down once I get up on the last loop?  I am a little nervous.  I was way more nervous for the few days this week I thought I had to run this thing solo with no pacers.  Not to worry some folks have really come through and I will have a pacer for the worst part for sure.  Thank you Jimmi and Cathy.  You two are the BOMB DIGGITY!!!!!! Ok back to freak out.  This is where I start to worry if I trained enough or in this case too much.  What should my nutrition plan be?  Why didn't I get sick at the last race?  How do I repeat that?  What will I do without Marny cramming food down my throat when the last thing I want to do is eat? 

As you can see, I am nervous so, time to get to planning.  The goal for this race is to finish and under 24 if at all possible.  Ok under 24 or kill my quads trying, lol. I know I have to stay on top of my nutrition.  I have to make sure I am sucking down 200 calories an hour.  I need to make sure I am getting in ensure when I see the crew but am not going to carry it this time.  My plan is to go as light as possible and hope the crew can meet me often.  The other portion of my nutrition plan is sports chews (need to put those on the shopping list) and to eat normal food every time I get to an aid station.  I also think I need to take my vitamin drinks like the last race and well pray for the best.  I just bought gaiters, will try them out this week.  Apparently the sand is horrendous in spots.  I will take tons of gear because rumor has it it gets darn cold in SF this time of year.  Bottom line: I can do this, I know I can, I just have to believe in myself and stay on top of my nutrition and go super slow off the top.  You should hear me chanting: I think I can, I know I can, I know I can.......Oh crap this is going to hurt.

OMG! This is nuts.  Why do I do this?  And next year I need to do 4-5 races like this in a row if I want a chance at my dream race.  Oh me oh my.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Holly's Blog

I met one of those super moms (you all know at least one of them) back in Texas.  Holly  is amazing and the author of I Heart Bowheads.  Anyhow she has been looking into what makes a  mom click.  You can find my interview here and if you are interested in answering her questions she totally wants more mamas to give her feed back so leave her a comment and she will send you the questionnaire.

I haven't gotten in much traditional running lately but since Chloe is currently injured (her foot is broken we think) I have gotten in some great hill training.  Chloe has totally been down with me running up and down the stairs of all of these mountain temples with her on my back.  I love that she is excited to get a ride and I get in an awesome workout.  So while I do not have any mileage to report my legs are sore from carrying almost 40lbs up and down Japanese Mountains. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hi from Japan

As most of you know, I am in Japan for a few weeks.  We are having a great time sight seeing.  I must say my running has fallen off a bit but, I did manage to still hit 78 miles last week even with traveling here and the busy days.  I have been running off of the base.  I just head on down the coast.  On my first 12 miler I ran into a lighthouse in a little village down the way, it is so quaint, love the little town and the lighthouse area.  There is some sort of shrine in a cave.  I took pictures for the blog this morning but I am having a tough time uploading them. 

Running here is super easy, there are bathrooms on almost every corner and tons of water fountains.  The only negative is how hot it is.  Even at 6am it is already near 90 and somewhere near 100% humidity.  It is hot hot hot.  Last I checked a Japanese woman was in 1st place at Badwater, no wonder, training in this heat would be perfect for that race.  I love how many people I see of all ages out running, it is completely impressive.  It feels just a tad hotter than TX to me here and you would never see anyone out running there in this heat. 

I am beginning to freak out a bit about my 100 miler coming up.  I know I have trained hard and well but what was I thinking over 17,000 ft of elevation gain and if you go up 17K you have to go back down so the race is going to hurt.  But, if I can't do this then I can't do any of my bucket list races so I better just get it over with.  My goal is just to finish, no time goals, no nothing, just get to the finish line in one piece everything else is gravy.  I just ordered gaiters because while I was perusing some race reports I realized the sand is pretty intense and the runners said you have to empty your shoes if you don't have on gaiters.  AHHHHHH!!!!!! Even that made me freak just a little.  I will have a strong crew: Mama Cathy, my cousin Todd and his wife Kathryn and then an awesome pacer named Jon.  With three crew persons I should have tons of support at each station so that will help with easing the worry of what to have on me.  I just need to stop freaking out and believe in myself and my training.  I can do this.  I can do anything I put my mind to.  I can do this.  I can do anything I put my mind to.  I can do this.....Relentless Forward Motion!!!!

I heard a podcast on sodium and I think on both of my previous hot races I have been way off on my sodium.  You need 600-1K mg of sodium an hour and at both races I didn't stick to that very well, at one race I had bad swelling in my extremities and we should have known something was up when we saw my feet but not even medical realized something was wrong.  I think I stopped taking sodium all together when the sun went down at that race and I surely wasn't taking it every hour.  At Heartland I started peeing like crazy in the middle of the night, my cells were getting rid of liquid to up the balance of the sodium, we should have realized there was no way for me to be peeing that much if everything was ok.  So I am going to work on that, work on changing out shoes and work on finding out a caffeine pill as opposed to coffee.  The stuff I learn on podcasts while I am training, LOVE IT!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Ok Folks I have a handful of items not claimed from the raffle last week and since I am headed to Japan in a few short days I want to get them out to some awesome participants of this 5K.  So I re-raffled them.  Please PM me an address ASAP if your name comes up here as a winner.  Mommysarunner@hotmail.com.  Thank you again to all of you for participating and to all of the wonderful companies who donated items.  We earned close to $3,500 for JDRF.  Wahooooo!!!

Winner: 208 Daughter (not sure of name) Gilwee

Winner: 129 Vol Stover

Blue RazzyRoo: 201 Kaci Nash

Winner: 273 Cathy Crisp

Winner: 138 Penny Ashton

Winners: Michelle Collins and Christine Rockey

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Necklace

When I lived in Texas I had the great fortune to meet one of the kindest people I have ever encountered.  Our daughters are the same age and so we hung out together and somewhere along the way became GREAT friends.  Liz has the biggest heart.  I don't know how else to describe her.  I would put a picture of her in this post but she is rarely in a picture (she likes taking them) in fact for the 5K she sent me a picture of a treadmill for her photo, ummmmmmmm.  Anyway...back to the raffle.  When I told Liz what I was doing (with the 5K) I didn't even have to ask she volunteered a necklace.  Then she topped that by offering her own friends a second necklace if they would register for the race.  I am not kidding you, she made three necklaces in total for this race.  All of her work is one of a kind, the heart you see isn't bought at some bead store, she cuts it out of metal then paints on enamel and fires it until she gets the look she wants.  She can make you anything you want.  So if you are in the market for a super cute necklace you should check out her etsy site or contact her if you want something specific.  Trust me she can make ANYTHING! 

I had to include the necklace she just made me.  I absolutely adore it. 

I just love the heart.  She did such a great job with the enamel.


# 273 Cathy Crisp