Training and Fueling

Pre-Race Eating
Healthy Snacks and Lunches for the Busy Runner
Run While Injured or Wait to Heal?

A few of my race reports:

KEYS 100
Umstead 100-The Final Loop
The Heart of a Runner
North Coast 24hr Sept 2012 (122.55m 2nd OA/2nd F) 100 mile PR: 18:29

My 1st 10k to my First 100 Mile Race, May, 3, 2010
(Written less than 2 weeks before my first 100 mile race- see  RACE REPORT)

Other people's stories about how they became a runner have always intrigued me. I love hearing about how other's lives were transformed for the better because they became passionate about running. For me, to get to this point to prepare for 100 mile road race in the KEYS has been a gradual one, beginning in 1995 with my very first 10K.

My dad started running in the early 80s so I knew about marathons at a fairly early age. Other than a few attempts at exercise, for the most part I was not athletic. In fact, I recall vividly being last or 2nd to last in the 50 yard dash in the Presidential Fitness Tests in high school. I gave it all I had but just couldn't seem to run fast and this was very defeating at many levels for me.

In 1993 at age 24, I had just finished graduate school at Auburn and was living in Decatur, GA, just outside of Atlanta. In general, I never particularly had strong feelings one way or another about my body and was fairly satisfied with how I looked. However, one day, I suddenly realized that I was only 24 years old and had the body of someone who was significantly older. I was not overweight at all-just out of shape and flabby.

So, immediately I signed up at the Decatur Fitness Center and began working out regularly. I started with short runs on the treadmill and because I was not overweight, I was able to work up to 3 miles fairly quickly. Never in my life had I ever run 3 miles so this was huge for me. While on the treadmill, I thought about my dad and his running. However, he never ran on a treadmill so I decided that I needed to head outdoors and see what running was like on the roads. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that my days on the treadmill were over after that.

I didn't run my first road race until June 24th, 1995 which was nearly two years later. Running was pretty much daily for me and I was even able to work up to 8 miles before my first 10K. So, I felt confident about the distance and set out to downtown Atlanta to run my first 10K wearing mauve cotton aerobic shorts that resemble bike shorts and a cotton tank top. My finish time was 62 minutes and I was very proud.

So, shortly thereafter, after several consultations with my dad who was living in Northern Virginia, outside of D.C., I decided to start training for the Marine Corps Marathon (1995). My training consisted of daily runs, a few road races such as the U.S. 10K Classic, and of course the long run. My dad and I both registered and regularly discussed our training via telephone. He was turning 60 the month of the race so that was exciting too.

About 6 weeks prior to the race, I began having hip pain but tried to work through it. My long run was up to 15 miles at that point in my training and as a slower, newer runner with no running partners, this distance was not easy. Shortly after the hip pain, I developed a sharp pain in my foot which ended up being a stress fracture so it was over for me. I was extremely disappointed but relieved in some ways. The marathon distance was scary and I was constantly questioning as to whether or not I could finish. Two weeks prior to the Marine Corps Marathon, my dad told me that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and needed to have his prostate taken out. But, the M.D. gave him permission to follow through with the Marine Corps Marathon and he finished in 4:07 at age 60. That was his last full marathon.

Immediately once my foot was healed I continued running regularly but swore off marathons. The mental let down of getting injured was too much to take so I stuck with half marathon and under throughout the 1990s. My first half marathon, the Atlanta Half Marathon, was in 1997 and I finished in 2:24 which is an eleven minute pace. In 1998, my dad and I ran the Atlanta Half Marathon together. Throughout the 1990s, I believe I ran approximately 20 road races. My finish time was never of concern to me. I ran races because I loved it-not to compete. In fact, I don't even have records of my finish times for a lot of the races back then.

In the late 90s still single, I moved to Marietta and began trail running at Cheatham Hill. I was working the later shift so my wake up time was 7 a.m. and I usually took off for my 5.5 mile run at about 9 a.m.. This was my favorite part of the day.

I got married in April 2000 and our son was born May 2001. I quit running early in my pregnancy and didn't resume my running until 2003 other than some under 3 mile runs here and there. It didn't take long for me to get back into half marathons and I even started doing some triathlons as a result of making friends with triathletes in spin class. I seemed to be getting faster than I'd ever been which was really fun. One day on the phone, my dad said, "Enough with all this half marathon business, YOU NEED TO DO A MARATHON!" So, I listened to dear old dad and decided to make the Atlanta Marathon my first marathon in 2004.

At this point, I was a part of a very small running club so I had a lot of encouragement from other female runners, specifically DeDe, who had run the prestigious Boston Marathon. We had a solid program and after a 1:44 Silver Comet half finish just a month prior to the Atlanta Marathon, I felt confident that I could finish. My goal was to finish in under 5 hours (since that is the cut-off time). So, my dad, Marty, and son Grant, came to see me finish my first marathon which was an amazing experience. I did not hit a wall which I was happy about and finished in 3:56. When I realized I had a chance at a sub4, all I kept thinking about was how shocked my dad was going to be seeing me finish with such a great time. He was ecstatic and ran the last 20 feet with me. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.

After Atlanta, I thought hmmm...I only need to shave off 11 minutes off my marathon time to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Can I do that? Five months later after an intense training program, I set out to attempt to Boston qualify at the Country Music Marathon (2005) I needed a 3:45:59 and my chip time was 3:45:58. Yes, I just barely made it and ended up with a shin injury immediately following which kept me from running pain free for about two months. That injury was totally worth it and I did end up running the Boston Marathon the following year.

Lots and lots of races, back to back marathons... what brought on the idea to start doing ultras? The first time that I ever heard of a 50K, I thought that it sounded insane. Why would anyone want to run farther than a marathon? When I heard about the Silver Comet 50K and in 2007, I decided that I would give it a shot. I loved the smaller race atmosphere (I think only 30 something people ran this race that year) and running beyond the marathon point was exhilerating. However, I really didn't know people or have running buddies who did ultras so I kept running marathons until Jan. 2009. Then, I got up the nerve to sign up for the Fat Ass Trail 50K through GUTS which is a ultra and trail running club in the Atlanta area. I still didn't know ultra runners so I was nervous showing up there by myself-not to mention this race was on trails. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly-I couldn't believe it! And the food! Such great aid station food that I could look forward to every loop. I ended up running with Jenna Carver the majority of the race and it was wonderful.

In 2009, I completed 6 marathons, 10 ultras (including 40 milers and a 50 miler), 3 half marathons, and 3 5ks. I set PRs in the marathon with a 3:33, the half marathon with a 1:37, and the 5K with a 21 min. I don't have a recollection of number of lifetime races thus far but I believe the number of marathons and beyond at this point as I write this, is well over 40.

This year I have completed numerous marathons, and some ultras in preparation for KEYS100. My longest run to date is 70 miles. The KEYS100 race on May 15th, 12 days from now (aaahhh!) starts in Key Largo and finishes in Key West. Whitney, Whitney's husband Dave, and Stacey will be my wonderful crew. This race benefits prostate cancer research. My father has been cancer free now for 14 years. He is my inspiration and I am blessed to have a father/daughter relationship like this with him. I will be thinking about him while running on May 15th which will give me strength and determination to finish.

My dad on his road bike as my mobile crew for my 50 mile training run

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