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 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!