olympic trials marathon

How far it goes- Houston Marathon 2019

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It is hard to describe the feeling of crossing the finish line on Sunday. It is hard to explain how far away I felt from the person I was when I ran the Olympic Trials in 2012. When I was running amazing in 2012, I never wanted to let that feeling, that rush go. I wanted to stay at that fitness level and see what I was capable of. And I had a great stretch there in 2012. But as any athlete knows, the highs and the lows last only so long. That time was over in the flash of an eye after a freak fall during a routine trail run in my new, at the time, neighborhood. Then came the bakery. And frustration, trying to run when my life of 100 hour work weeks wouldn’t allow. I stopped beating my head against the wall finally and realized that trying to do the same thing over and over again was unproductive. So I flew to South Africa and ran a marathon and then two weeks later, Ultra Trail Cape Town. It was the hardest 100km I have ever done, but I finished, proud in 3rd place. A few weeks later, I ran Javelina 100 and set the third fastest trail time ever (at the time). I enjoyed immensely the reinvigoration of my ultra running career that had taken a backseat to the life of a small business owner. 2016 brought golden tickets instead of OTQ’s as a realized my head and heart just weren’t into the quest. The fast marathon had become something overly complicated in my mind and I found myself self-sabatoging my races and really not enjoying myself. And so, I raced WS and finished 3rd. My satisfaction immense, my love for ultra running true.

And then came the struggle and the fighting for my running life. To be honest, the last 2.5 years have been intensely hard. I was fighting almost constantly just to keep my head above water. I suffered my first major injury in the fall of 2016 and at the time I thought it would be just a blip on the radar, but instead it became an incessant test of my fortitude and will. Sure, there have been amazing bright moments in the last 2.5 years- two top 10 finishes at Comrades, winning Leadville, 2nd in the 50km national championships, winning a marathon outright for the first time- but mostly, it has just pressed me to wonder if my best racing days were behind me, if feeling good as a runner and sometimes even just as a human, was something I’d feel again. The spiral began when my foot exploded and was misdiagnosed in March 2017, fast forward to major foot surgery and recovery, followed by a swift decline into extremely poor health in 2018. I’ve fought like hell over the past few years. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. I’ve found myself lower than I could remember and it wasn’t just because of running or not running. I felt like I was floundering around in the world at times and being kicked in the face at other times. I started to joke that March was a cursed month for me after experiencing major illness and missed races, totaling my car and one other very terrible experience that I still cannot reconcile. When I was knee deep in it, I didn’t think much about how hard it was or the depth and breadth of all that was seeming to go wrong, I simply focused on trying to fix what was right in front of me, what I had the power to change or control. And sometimes, that was just my perspective. A perspective of gratitude and of hope was something I returned to again and again. 

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If I have learned anything in my life, from the very earliest of my days, is that you ultimately need to be willing to do what it takes for yourself. What it takes to feel better, what it takes to heal, what it takes to learn. I never abandoned my faith in myself, I never lost trust in myself that I could weather the storms. A few months ago, I was thinking about the moment in Billy’s movie, Life in Day, when I am sitting in the chair, unsure of how I can keep going. I realized, watching that for the nth millionth time, that I had been thinking about that moment wrong. I had spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I ended up in the chair. Trying to figure out how to avoid the things in life that stop us in our track. But as I watched that moment, I realized: it’s not about if you end up in the chair, it is what you do after you get out of the chair that matters. 

You get up. You move forward. That is what matters. What you do next is what matters. Its not the faltering or failure. It is what you do with it. It is weathering the storm, it is surviving and coming out the other saying “holy shit, I’m just soaked”. 

That is when I realized that I had to let go of the hurt, the failing, the faltering of the past few years. What mattered was how I chose to proceed. Would I play small and safe or would I again risk it all? It is scary to take risks when you’ve felt the intense disappointments of epic failures. I felt that last year when I tried to go all in post foot surgery on London Marathon. I couldn’t even toe the line I was so ill. Heck, I could barely move off the couch. Watching TV was exhausting. I had been humbled again by the sudden onslaught of a barrage of health problems, a pattern that had played out every few years of my running career, heck of my life. Once in 5th grade, I missed an entire month of school (probably the month of March ;) ) because I was sick. In high school, I spent half of a summer in bed with mono. My college boyfriend called me “sickly D” because I caught every bug that I came in contact with.

But last year really scarred me. And I became afraid to go all in on a goal. I raced sure and did some pretty decent things, but the reality is, I was undermining myself. Not allowing myself to risk too much, put too much on any one thing. While this makes for some fine results, they are pyrrhic victories. After a series of 4 races in 7 weeks of that sort, I emailed my coach Ian and said “I have the next great idea! I’ll do CIM!”. He responded in a way that I cannot appreciate more. He told me that if I want what I say I want (a marathon PR) then I needed to stop all the unspecific racing, traveling, stress and focus. He told me CIM was the wrong choice and I should instead focus on Houston Marathon. He told me that I had to go ALL IN. It was uncomfortable for me because it was true. I know I can perform at a very high level on non-specific training, but I also know I can’t run my best if I am not focused. And so for 12 weeks we focused. I narrowed my life down to this one goal. I set aside the fear. I showed up and did the work, day after day. I didn’t race, I didn’t travel. I just burrowed down into the details of this one goal. I put all my eggs in one basket. And while it terrified me, I knew it was the only way.

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Day in and day out, I was just married to the process. I removed unnecessary distractions. I did all the little extras. I neither stressed the failures or celebrated the successes to much, I just built myself brick by boring brick. When things went suddenly sideways in the first week of December, I didn’t panic. I suffered a crazy nerve impingement in my leg, got sick and then fell over my foam roller and broke a rib. I just stayed with the process and realized one bad week didn’t matter, I simply had to stay focused. And workout after workout, I saw paces I never thought I would. I found myself having to hold back instead of stretch. I arrived to my two week taper excited, confident. I had trained for 12 weeks, run hundreds of miles and only taken one day off. I knew I was strong and ready.

But as tapers do, I started feeling the doubts, I started to question what I had done, I started to question each and every brick I had laid. And then came the weird niggles and my legs #notfeelinggood. I honestly had to make an immense effort to get my mind right in the last 72 hours before the race. I read the book “Mind Gym” after taking the USATF Level 1 Coaching clinic and found these words to be the game changer for me: “Since you don’t know what’s going to happen, why not act as if you’re going to have a good day. When you are not afraid to fail, your chances of succeeding improve”. I stopped wallowing in the idea of “ending up in the chair” and started to embrace the infinite possibility of good. I didn’t focus on the weather report of 10-15mph winds and freezing cold temps, or my leg feeling weird. I focused on eating, resting and calming my mind.

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By the time I toed the line at 7:01am, I was free of doubt and ready to celebrate the fitness I had cultivated over the weeks and months. I lined up with the other sub-elites in the ADP corral and we shivered and finally were allowed our place behind the elites. The gun, the frenzy, I found myself calm among the surging masses. I started my Coros watch when I hit the start line a few seconds after the gun, but I quickly turned the screen to daytime, knowing I did not want the feedback of GPS pace. I settled in and chanted to myself “right effort, right mind”. I knew that if I wanted to run a PR, I needed to run on the more uncomfortable side of uncomfortably hard, but I also knew that I needed to stay calm and patient in the first half.  I floated through mile 1 in 5:45. Oops. There were people around as the half and full went off together, but I was surprised how, within 4 miles, I was basically running alone. Welp, guess I don’t get that CIM type group magic today! The wind gusted and I just hoped that that meant I would have a tailwind on the way back (spoiler alert, nope). 

Finding myself alone so early, I knew that I HAD to stay focused, I had to stay strong and on plan. I followed the instructions I had written on my hand for each Maurten gel. I followed the instructions for my mind. I smiled and remembered that this race was a celebration of my fitness. It is not a test, it is a celebration. At mile 12, a woman was holding a sign for me and I damn near started crying because it feels so awesome to have people out there rooting for me. 

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I hit halfway in 1:18:40, about 40 seconds slower than coach and I had planned, but I barely even acknowledged it (although to be fair, hit the 13.1 mile sign at just over 1:18 flat, but that mat was another 40 seconds beyond the sign). I was focused, focused on running a PR effort, even if the wind meant it wasn’t much of a PR day for me. I stayed calm, I stayed on it. I pushed as hard as I could and smiled as big as I could. I was wholeheartedly determined to have no regrets at that finish line.

I knew with about 12km to go that my goal of a PR was gone. I was running as well as I could, feeling good actually and just not able to take anything back from the wind. I remained undeterred, I would not back down, I was not going down without a fight.

At long last, I made my way back into the heart of Houston. With 1.5 miles to go, I reminded myself that my goal was to “drain the tank” and I pressed harder, unwilling to let go of the sub 2:40 and my fastest time in 7 years. I ran the last 1.5 miles in 5:43/mile pace. I powered to the line, 2:39:37 my 3rd fastest time ever (and my 2nd fastest time is a 2:39:36!). What a moment. Joy, relief, all of it. I ran the effort I came to and am so proud.

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It is what matters what you do after you get out of the chair that matters. Failure, faltering and flops are part of life. We must take lessons from them sure, but we cannot become defined by them. It is a choice where we go from the low points. It is a choice if we let it those things break us or lift us to greater heights. I know that in life I will surely find myself in the chair again, I will certainly cry out “but I don’t know how to keep going”, but I also know that I will get out of that chair and I’ll walk until I can run again. 

The Constant Gardener

"Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives."- Carol Dweck in Mindset:The New Psychology of Success. As quoted on one of my favorite blogs: Brain Pickings

From the time I was very young I believed in the value of challenging myself and importance of effort. Whether it was basketball, school or anything else, I believed in my ability to work hard and develop myself instead of believing in any fixed talent or intelligence level. When I played basketball, I always use to say that my only talent was my desire and ability to work hard. When I went to graduate school, I decided on becoming a librarian because I loved the idea that my job was constant learning- at any given moment was to become an expert in any and every subject. I always believed I would go back to graduate school for something simply because I loved learning and challenging myself so much.  As an adult, I still believe in my ability to work hard and develop myself and it guides me in my life on a daily basis. I highly value the growth mindset and find that when I am rooted in this mentality I am able to be my best self. I am free to pursue challenges that I have a significant chance of failure at, I am open to choosing goals that will stretch me and push me in ways I never have before, I am free from feeling like I need external approval of my goals or that I have prove myself over and over again. In fact, my worst races have always been ones at which I have externalized too much- for approval and proof of my worthiness. My worst races have been those in which I have fallen into the binary trap of either success or failure. I have thrived on the other hand when I see either success or failure merely as opportunities to learn and grow, the priority being learning.

2011 UROC 100km. Sometimes joy is about learning, digging and discovering something about yourself you didn't know was in there. Photo credit iRunFar (I think!)

2011 UROC 100km. Sometimes joy is about learning, digging and discovering something about yourself you didn't know was in there. Photo credit iRunFar (I think!)

It is not always easy to stay in a mindset of growth however. In fact, it takes an incredible amount of effort and mindfulness. There is a constant barrage of images and sentiment that encourage a one dimensional view of success and very little spotlighting of failure as a tool for growth. Failure is glossed over in stories, pointed out merely to prop up the success story and highlight its triumph more. We all fall in the trap and start "hustling for our worthiness" as Brene Brown calls it. When I hustle for my worthiness, I don't want anyone to see my flaws, I don't want them to see me face down in the arena, struggling or anything but on top, on point and indestructible. But that very mentality severely undercuts my own ability to reach my potential. My true potential is found when I do the work, make the effort, keep inspired, remain curious and stay open to being wrong, being humbled. 

Having a growth mindset for also means being free to explore. I can build my goals toward an adventure, toward a specific level of competition, towards drawing out my own potential and feel free to be guided intrinsically. I can work on different skills separately or together; I can run up mountains and fast along the roads. Because there is no fixed moment in time or accomplishment that I am seeking, instead just seeking a rich full interesting running life, I am able to heap mounds of challenges on my plate. And then instead of worrying if I nail them all at one go, I can look at each and examine the lessons, failures, triumphs and find my next inspiration.

Once upon a time in 2012, I ran a PR of 2:38 at the Olympic Trials, was the fastest MUT runner in the field and then got a hug from Deena Kastor. 

Once upon a time in 2012, I ran a PR of 2:38 at the Olympic Trials, was the fastest MUT runner in the field and then got a hug from Deena Kastor. 

One of the most interesting tests to a mindset of growth recently has been the Olympic Trials. Because I was so busy with the bakery, I very much fell into a fixed mindset when it came to my goals towards qualifying. PSHHHH, I thought, I've run sub 2:43 numerous time. I've already proven this, should be no problem. Just taking the been there done there attitude undercut many of the very mental skills that have allowed me to run such fast times including bracing myself, joy and happy uncertainty. In addition to all of the concrete barriers (many of which I just tried to ignore such as working 100 hour weeks and courses/race days not conducive to fast times), I started to get sucked into wanting to prove myself again. Because of the huge rise in popularity in the ultrarunning world of running the Olympic Trials, as well as being surrounded by many badasses who have qualified for the Trials, I started feeling more anxious and more need to prove myself each time a marathon didn't go my way. I stopped looking at the lessons (which most of the time was you are too exhausted from working 100 hours a week on your feet) and just beat myself up and would go right back into the next race without having learned a thing. I stopped enjoying running marathons and finally realized at the end of the summer that I was simply doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So I opted again for growth, ran UTCT, was inspired and ran Javelina. And those were absolutely amazing expansive experiences. I put aside the goal of making the Trials so that I could meditate on it further, so I could examine it, re-evaluate it and see what it had for me. I know now with certainty that for future Trials 2020 & 2024 at least (I am young 33! and constantly inspired by my Oiselle teammates especially my twin, Andrea Duke aka Dr. Dre, who qualified for her first Trials at 35 and has been on an upward trajectory ever since. Or look at Kara Goucher (37) or Deena Kastor (42) who are forces), I will put my all in to being there and being prepared to run my best races there. I love the challenge of qualifying and I love the challenge of toeing the line with the best field of competitors I can and being pushed to new levels. 

But what of the impending Trials? I will be there. In what capacity, I am not yet sure. Whether it is fangirling the heck out of my Oiselle teammates or toeing the line, I want to be a part of the special event. I have one chance left to qualify and will be in Houston in 12 days to race. But my perspective is different now. I am not going to Houston to qualify for the Trials. That is not my goal. My goal is to take back the marathon for myself. It is to renew the exquisite joy I get from trying to run as fast as I can. I come in with curiosity, wondering where my fitness is after recovering from a 100 miler and many health issues after the fact, wondering where my fitness is as I kick of a year of adventures and challenges. Houston is my starting line for the year. It is my pre-test to see what skills I need to develop, what areas I need to work, what is my level of competency with information synthesis. Where do I grow from here, what needs tending. It makes me excited to see what I can do with a joyous and playful heart. 

As my homegirl, badass Oiselle teammate and amazing friend Lauren Fleshman says, "Make the race your playground, not your proving ground."

Mind over muscle

And when you are lost, it is ok to wander. A great wendy macnaughton piece on the walls of basecamp hotel, Tahoe.

And when you are lost, it is ok to wander. A great wendy macnaughton piece on the walls of basecamp hotel, Tahoe.

I wrote this awesome blog about working on the mental side of my running, digging deep into my running philosophy and finding the peace I need to start running my best. And then the internet ate it. Squarespace scratched their heads, threw their hands up and said, "we can't figure out why numerous "saves" didn't do even one". I wanted to be pissed, I wanted to be frustrated, but instead, I put into practice all the things I've been trying to work on and deliberately, mindfully, let it go. Yeah, it was an awesome post, but just because it was gone didn't mean that what I wanted to say was. I have still come to the same conclusions, I have still rediscovered my own power, I have still realized what is important to me and how I want to get there.

I wrestled by the sea   A loneliness in me   I asked myself for peace   And found it at my feet   Staring at the sea...    Future Islands

I wrestled by the sea
A loneliness in me
I asked myself for peace
And found it at my feet
Staring at the sea...

Future Islands

Over the past two years, my ability to races has been restricted, as I have said over and over again. I had found a quasi-balance between bakery life and running. I still got to race marathons but that was in part because I was able to maintain a relatively high level of fitness, so focusing on the Olympic Trials qualifier seemed like a good goal to chip away at. Unfortunately, that goal stopped being about the process to get there at some point and started becoming the destination. And yet, I couldn't stop heaving my body towards it, even if my mind was not in the right place. I have tried over and over again to figure out how to fit my mind into the parameters of the goal and be motivated, be present, be less stressed but time and time again, I have failed to do so. And therefore, I have failed to achieve that goal, burned out on that goal. Over the last few months, as I have been able to train more, have other big goals and spend more time on running, my mind has faltered. I have lost confidence, lost drive, lost the love. And that is not ok with me, that is not why I run, not why I race, not what motivates me.

Serenity is climbing the mountain and turning around.

Serenity is climbing the mountain and turning around.

When I played basketball, I was focused on one goal: to get a basketball scholarship. I worked so hard, I sacrificed so much, I drove myself intensely towards that goal and I achieved it. But then something happened I didn't anticipate, I was done. I hated basketball, I didn't want to do it anymore, I was exhausted and walked away from the game. I had used all of my energy and will and everything I was to get that goal and there was nothing left on the other side. That is not what I want for my running, it is not who I am as a runner. When I started to really examine my own unhappiness, I realized it was because I was focusing my efforts on achieving my goals instead of process of achieving my goals. There is a very very big difference. I am a process person. I like picking big huge goals not because I am a competitive Type A person (I am not), but because I like having a challenge that I can work towards. I love developing the skill necessary to rise to the challenge a race presents. Yes, I am hugely self motivated, driven and hardworking but for the sake of the process itself, not the end result. When that happens, races come together and I celebrate the work I've done. I am motivated differently than the majority of elite athletes and so I need to embrace my own motivators. I am a wild horse amongst the thoroughbreds.

Photo by Alison Naney

Photo by Alison Naney

I got away from my guiding principles for running and I lost myself. It has been a hard few months trying to figure out the way forward. One of the things that has been important in figuring it out has been to really define and own what my guiding principles are for running. My guiding principles are 1) Love running 2) Run for my whole life 3) Stay connected to the process. Using these as my way points, I am now better able to develop my goals, pick races, be motivated and by far the most important: enjoy running again. I've started to get more excited about training, racing and the possibilities. I feel free again.

The mountains are calling.

The mountains are calling.

As I begin to get my head on straight, reprioritize goals or put goals aside for a time, I am absolutely filled with excitement and enthusiasm as I start planning my next year of running and adventures. I have followed my heart and enlisted the mantra "be who you want to be" in picking races. Instead of worrying about what (I perceive) others want me to do or others think I am good at (please stop telling me "this isn't your kind of race"- I love it ALL, even the races that requires facing my weaknesses which is actually even more fun!! Why would I just want to run races I am already skilled at??) or what I think I should do, I am just doing what I want to. Ultimately, it only matters to me! The biggest thing I have realized/remembered over the past few weeks is that my running is MINE, no one else's. And if I am not true to myself, I do not run or race well. Thus, as I picked my fall schedule, I was guided by things that got my heart pumping and got me excited with challenges!

Here are my upcoming races:

  1. July 26th- San Francisco Marathon
  2. August 8th- Angel's Staircase 60km
  3. August 23rd- Santa Rosa Marathon
  4. September 20th- Cape Town Marathon
  5. October 3rd- Ultra Trail Cape Town 100km (woot! soooooo excited for this challenge!)
  6. October 24th- Fall 50- USATF 50 mile road championship
  7. November 21- JFK 50 mile
  8. Ongoing fall: PAUSATF XC!

When it comes right down to it, I am an emotional, introspective runner, just like I am an emotional, introspective person. There is nothing wrong with that. I am coming to embrace it and embrace that my journey is much more of a samurai's journey than an army ranger. I am trying to walk a certain spiritual path with my running, not just reach a desired outcome. I will win, I will lose, I will struggle, I will succeed and it will be all part of my journey, but now I see that as long as I embrace it all, I will love the run and mindfully be happy.

All smiles. In life and running.

All smiles. In life and running.

False Starts

I thought 2014 was going to be a good year for me. I had looked forward to the business being stable enough, having enough employees to cover shift and allow Nathan and I some real time away from the bakery. I looked forward to getting my OT qualifier and maybe running a few races actually well trained.

I had hoped Boston would be my great comeback of 2014 after recovering from severe anemia and just under a year after opening the bakery. Instead, I had to DNF at mile 16 due to being severely ill. I was disappointed,  but also knew that sometimes patience is required in a comeback and bad luck happens. After the DNF and a good two months of working myself to the bone with no days off from work, I toed the line at Rock and Roll Seattle Marathon and won! I felt like my mojo was coming back. I felt like I was running happy and excited to sink my teeth into some big goals.

The summer promised for some good training. I ran SF marathon as a training run, easily running a 2:49 with no taper (it felt easy), did some fun adventures in the mountains- Rae Lakes Loop with Nathan and 4 Passes in Colorado with Krissy, got to do a train-cation in Colorado and ran another great training race at Akron marathon in 2:49. I was feeling fit and excited to go after a great time at Chicago which was my next planned A race, closely followed by Fall 50, the USATF 50 mile road championship two weeks later.

But instead of racing Chicago, I found myself at home in bed, seriously ill with what the doctors thought was an ulcer (hence determined not an ulcer). I was unable to eat much of anything for the week after Akron and tearfully had to withdraw from Chicago. I watched my plans, dreams and goals slip away. It was hard, I knew I was ready and my chance did not come. Once I felt better, I was determined to absolutely CRUSH the Fall 50. I was looking to better my 5:59 50 mile PR and felt that dipping under 5:50 was possible. My chance did not come. Things at the bakery became so busy and all consuming in those weeks that there was no opportunity for me to leave and run the race. I was feeling mostly better from my "ulcer", but to fly across the country to race was just impossible with work.

Honestly, I felt crushed. I watched everything I had worked for over the summer slip away. I knew it was not simply a matter of taking my fitness to a different race, I had missed my chance this time. While I did in fact sign up immediately for California International Marathon, I knew that race would be after not having a single day off from work (which I lovingly call Bakery-Cross Fit since it is such physical work) and my training would likely not be what I wanted. My schedule changed to nights and I worked every day with no days off. I did what I could in training, but struggled. My mind grappled with my goals slipping away, I became disheartened by so many runs feeling absolutely awful. There were times when I just wanted to quit, when I wanted to give up. What was the point anyways? I am not becoming a better runner, I am not getting faster, I don't love it anymore, not to mention that I don't have any sponsors and I am not winning races. I was just mad at running. I pondered whether giving up my goals and dreams would allow me to just love running again.

During the summer of training, I had gotten really excited about my 2015 schedule. LA marathon, Two Oceans, Comrades. I was ready to crush it. I was excited. The hard fall wore at me, made me wonder if I should give up those goals. I didn't want to, but I also didn't want to just run those races, I wanted to RACE, I wanted to be in the mix, fighting it out to the best of my abilities. I don't want to just run, I want to push myself to become something better. I want to challenge myself and my limits.

I refused to give up, I refuse to give up. I love to run. I love to explore and challenge myself. Yes, this year has sucked and it has beaten me down, but I have faith I will rise again. I am excited to be in a place where I can just dig in and do the work and have an amazing comeback.

California International was not my comeback. I ran my fastest time of the year 2:46 and felt comfortable at my goal pace through 16 miles until my mind failed me, the doubts crept in and when I needed my mind to say "YES, FIGHT", I had nothing left. I slogged 8 miles in misery before my true self rallied at the end dropping my pace back down significantly at mile 24. This was not my race, but I learned that deep down I am still fighting, still committed to the comeback, still inspired as ever to see what I can be.

This year has been a series of false starts giving me false hopes and challenging my perseverance and fortitude more than I ever thought possible. It has been an amazing test of will and stamina. While I wanted more for my running this year, I cannot say that it wasn't worth it. Nathan and I have built a thriving business. And I have learned a lot. Now, standing here on the edge of a new year, I look forward with hope and commitment that I will be able to pursue my dreams and goals with relentless fervor. I look forward to going into my own little training world and emerging on the other side as something even beyond what I ever thought possible. The fire is lit and I am ready to ignite.

Streak of luck


 Sunset over Santa Cruz on our week of vacation!
I have been incredibly lucky this past year. Since Memorial Day 2013, Nathan and I have built a thriving business, pushed ourselves to our limits and created something awesome. During that time, I was able to squeeze in a few races and even get to the point of training seriously again after Portland Marathon. Its been an unbelievable ride and I cannot complain.

Ironically, it has also been one of the worst stretches of running I've had in my short career. When I switched off the baking shift shortly after Portland Marathon in October and was able to run in the morning again, it made an immediate world of difference. I felt lighter and springier than I did after a 12 hour baking shift and I felt focused on my running. I entered the Boston Marathon and felt inspired to go after a PR. That feeling last about 3 weeks. Then I started moving backwards, I felt like I was getting slower, even easy pace felt hard. I had two below average half marathons and then capped off the year with a painful DNF at California International Marathon due to, what I thought at the time, was incredibly calf cramps brought on by the extremely low temperatures. I not only didn't accomplish my goal of making the Olympic Trials qualifier, I didn't even finish the race.

I felt like crap no matter what I did, rest, run, change my diet, adjust my medicine (including iron) sleep more, etc. I figured it was just working long hours at the bakery on top of training hard. I was ready to really focus on Boston. I wanted redemption for my CIM DNF and knew that I had it in my to really a great showing at Boston. I wanted a PR.

Happy to be at the top of the highest peak around Big Sur!

After our lovely "stay-cation" to Santa Cruz and Big Sur, I lined up for the KP Half Marathon in Golden Gate park. In my head, I wanted to see if I could pull off a half PR even though I was feeling bone tired. I figured, I had been doing the work to get faster, putting in the miles, that I should be able to challenge my pretty soft 1:18 pr.

It was an ugly, cold, pouring down rain day. I was not feeling confident as I jogged to the start. I lined up, the gun went off and within a mile I knew something was wrong with me. I shouldn't be struggling that much. I shouldn't feel like I am sprinting when I am not even running my goal marathon pace. I backed off, backed off again and practically jogged in the most miserable half of my life. It was demoralizing after a disappointing end to 2013 to be feeling worse than ever.

Thankfully, I had gone to the doctor to discuss how I was feeling a few days before the race and the day after the race I received my bloodwork back. I was severely anemic! That explained why I felt like, after the half, I was about to drop dead. That explained why I struggled all fall and had such a hard time with the cold at CIM. I actually considered going to the hospital a few days after the race I felt so bad. I was truly anemic and my ferritin was 7 (the lowest its ever been before was 13). I immediately started getting iron injections and went through a battery of tests to figure out why my anemia was so bad. I am a red meat eater and take iron so it was a mystery how I could become so anemic.

The road to recovery began. With each iron shot, I started feeling light years better. I went from feeling dead and miserable on every run to starting to see all that training I had been doing shine through. I started recovering faster, being able to hit my splits in workouts and load more mileage into my weeks. And that is just by bumping my iron up to 13!

I started to feel like I was on track to make the Olympic Trials qualifier at Boston. I was feeling so good some days that I even considered that if I had a good day I could PR. I was getting excited. But most of all, I was excited because running felt good again. I was just happy.
 Happy face. Best workout ever!

Boston was soon upon me. It was a fantastic trip that even got to include Nathan, my sister, my in-laws and all my nieces and nephews! It was special to me that the whole family got to come together and see each other since it has been incredibly difficult (read impossible) for us to visit in the last year.

The day after I arrived in Boston (Saturday), I noticed that I was not feeling good. I felt like I was coming down with a cold or worse, a flu. Just the edge but enough to scramble for Emergen-C and every vitamin I could find. I said positive mantras for health and wished it away. But by the time Monday morning rolled around, I knew I was in the grips of it. I had hoped that I would be able to race faster than it could take me down. I figured I would get hit hard after but hoped that adrenaline and sheer will would be enough.

Needlesstosay, I was wrong. I was flying for 8 miles, clicking off sub-6 pace and feeling pretty comfortable doing it. But I could feel the energy draining out of me rapidly, my mouth was dry even though I was drinking at each aid station, my stomach was in knots, and my lungs were rapidly congesting. I backed off the pace and hope that slowing down to my original goal pace would help save my race. I pulled back and downed a gel at mile 10 only to nearly gag and practically throw it up. My body was having none of it. The end came quickly after that. My body couldn't handle the illness, I was done. I pulled out at mile 16 and sadly took a seat in a med tent. Everything I had worked for since Portland, everything I had endured and I was still without my redemption.

It was bad luck. Getting on sick right before a race is every runner's nightmare but it happens and there is only so much you can do to protect yourself. In the end, I cannot be distraught over what happened. I can't lose confidence or start thinking that I'm a bad runner or my time to race well is over. That would be unfounded nonsense. Instead, I look at the last few months and think how lucky I am. I am lucky I've got to do some seriously fun training with some great friends. I am lucky that I found what its like to feel good on a run again. I am lucky that I have a supportive husband who will do everything in his power to help me reach my goals. I am lucky to be remind of the lessons of patience and perseverance in the pursuit of my goals. As I move past the hurdles of the past few months, I know, soon, my luck will change. I will just continue to get ready and perhaps my chance will come.

2012 Olympic Trials Marathon- Race report


Photos in this post by Nathan Yanko, Meredith Terranova and Larry King. Thanks guys!!

When I stepped off the plane in Houston, I knew I was ready for the adventure that lay before me. I was finally in a good mindset and had shook off the taper crazies. Nathan and I arrived on Thursday and I deliberately tried to soak in the whole experience because I knew before I could even think about it, it would be gone in a flash.The experience really did go screaming by. And wow, what an experience it was.

I have never been in an event like this. There really is nothing akin to trying to make the Olympic Team. Sure, I have run races with more people but I have never experienced running amongst the best of the best. The only thing I can liken it to is times in my high school days when I went to all-start tournaments with All-Americans from around the country. I played with and against some of the best players currently in the WNBA. But even that experience, doesn't really come close. It was incredibly special, a once in a lifetime opportunity. Looking back now, just a few days later, it already feels like a dream. And it hard to put into words what being in that race truly felt like.


I toed the line with no expectations. It was really hard for me to form time goals for this race because while my training was good after NYC marathon, I just wasn't sure it was enough time to drop another huge PR. I resolved to listen to my body, be smart and see how things unfolded.

Leading up to the race, my runs felt ok, but not great. My cold/sickness seemed to be outbound as I had given it to Nathan, but my energy was still a bit off. I was tired but couldn't manage to sleep in or take naps. Even as I warmed up for the race, running laps around of the exposition halls in the convention center, I couldn't really tell where I was at. I didn't feel zippy but I also didn't feel lethargic.

It was amazing to be surrounded by so many incredible athletes. And though the air was thick with tension and nerves, I felt really calm all race morning. Before the race, I set myself up with my headphones and waited to be called to the start. When we were finally called to the start, I took several deep breathes and remembered to take in every single moment.

Outside we had a huge staging area to warm up in. There were lots of fans surrounding the gates and I could hear the crowds beyond in starting area getting charged. The men were started and before I could form another thought, we were jogging up to the line to begin the 2012 Olympic Trials.


I was surrounded by the best of best in American marathoning. I had been having a hard time believing that I belonged there. Yes, I qualified but I still felt on the outside. I wasn't seen by others or even by myself as a marathoner, I was an ultrarunner. A stranger in a strange land. Standing there on the line though, I knew that labels didn't matter and any dog can have its day. I wasn't there just to be there, I was there to run my ass off and that is all that mattered.

We were set at the line. The pause before the start. I stopped the world for a moment. I stopped my brain. I held the moment. Snapped it in my mind and became completely present. It is a moment to be savored, it is a moment in which I felt completely prepared for the 26.2 mile journey ahead of me.

The gun went off and the crowd pressed forward. We went out incredibly slow and the huge pack of women made it hard to get into stride. I just let myself be carried along with the crowd, unconcerned about the initial miles pace. I knew a few runners with 2:35 time goals and I positioned myself just behind them. We ran nearly the slowest split of my entire race (6:18) but dropped the pace easily over the next mile (5:52) to stretch out the group. My legs felt good as we finished up the first 2.2 loop through downtown and made our first pace through the finish line. We headed back through the downtown and out onto the big 8 mile loop.


I was slightly behind the 20 person deep 2:35-ish pace group, but they weren't pulling away so after a few miles of being slightly (25-30 feet back) behind the group, I gassed it a bit to join the group and benefit from the drafting. It really is a huge energy savings to run in a group like that. Not only does it block the wind, but it takes your mind off of regulating your own pace. I looked around the group several times and felt like I wasn't working harder than anyone else to maintain the low 5:50s we were clicking off. I wasn't breathing hard and my legs felt good. I was taking in my water and starting taking in 1/3 of a GU each time I got one of my bottles after mile 8.

We worked our way around the loop and I soaked up each stride, each cheer, each time someone recognized me and screamed my name or cheered "Go Fast Foodie!!!!". It was so cool. A few people would drop out of the group and others would join, but a decent sized pack was still together as we completed our first loop. I hit the 10 mile mark in 59:29, which is by far a 10 mile PR.



Before the race, I toyed with the idea of not wearing a watch. After the first loop I decided that, just like my gloves and sleeves, I was going to toss my watch. I had purposefully worn a simple watch that I wasn't attached to, so as I headed out for my second loop, I tossed it to the crowd and decided to continue to run by feel.

The group got smaller and smaller as we headed towards the half way mark. I kept taking my water and GU, but noticed that my stomach would become quite unsettled each time I would take a gel. I made sure that I only took a small nip and backed off the pace a bit each time I took one in. I maintained the mid 5:50s through the halfway mark, cruising through just under 1:18 (another huge PR).


Soon thereafter the group splintered and I was pretty much by myself. Looking at my splits now, I clearly downshifted just after the halfway mark. I consciously decided to run comfortably instead of gambling by pushing too early. 

I like loop courses. For me the familiarity makes each loop seem smaller and smaller. In the blink of an eye, I was back in downtown finishing up my second loop. I kept my head up and smiled and smiled and smiled. I just kept telling myself "what an adventure!!!". It was incredibly. The crowd was electric. While I liked the loops, I definitely don't think the course was that fast. The surface we ran on was pretty taking and there were lots of tight turns. 


About 4 miles to go.

I took a moment to think about the fact that I was about to start my final loop of the Olympic Trials. I knew it would go by in a blur and so I made my mind a sponge and absorbed every detail I could. I decided that I would keep maintaining pace until about mile 23 and then really go for it. Before the Trials, I thought I might gamble and try to red line for a long time, but as I started the final loop, I knew that I was on track for a PR despite the slower pace I was holding and didn't want to blow up.

3 miles to go!

I never bonked, I never felt really bad. My stomach did flip flops a few times and my energy was not 100% even from the start (from being sick), but I couldn't have asked for a better race. At mile 23, I started working my pace down back into the low 6s. I started reeling women back in and focused on whomever was right in front of me. I didn't want to get caught so I just kept pressing towards the next target. Coming back into the downtown I saw Mike Spinnler (race director of JFK 50 and friend), he had been cheering all day on course (which was hugely appreciated!) and he informed me that the next lady in front of me was 4 time Olympian Colleen De Reuck. And I was going to try and catch her.



With less than 2 miles to go, the emotions of the experience were starting to catch up with me. I told myself not to cry, that it didn't make breathing easier. I just pressed as hard as I could to try and catch Colleen. She was a good bit ahead of me, so I had my work cut out from me (I nearly caught her, but she got me by 3 seconds!). I floated towards Discovery Green and the mile 26 sign. I was flying.

I hit the mile 26 marker and couldn't stop the tears or the huge cheesy grin on my face. I beared down as hard as I could, trying to leave it all out there and rounded the final turn to the finish line. I pushed as hard as I could, arm swinging, feet flying.

I crossed the finish line in 2:38:55, 36th overall and a huge PR on the biggest stage there is other than the Olympics themselves. For a moment, I felt exhausted, but then just like NYC marathon, the feeling passed and I did a little happy dance saying "first ultrarunner!!!". There were many other women who had just come in and many of them looked like they were about to pass out and die. One of the volunteers remarked that I didn't even look tired and I said "well, I am use to running another marathon plus 10 more miles usually". I made my way out of the finishing area and was reunited with Nathan before being ushered back into the convention center. I cried when I saw him, the whole experience, the accomplishment washing over me. I was so blessed to have Nathan, my mom, Sarah and Steven there to support me. They made the experience so special for me.

Happy Finisher!

Finishing the race and having such a huge PR didn't feel like the end to me, instead it felt like the beginning of an entirely new adventure. When I crossed that finish line, I knew I belonged there. I knew it was not a crazy fluke or out of my mind insanely good day. I had run within myself and my training had brought me continued improvement. I know now based on how good I felt all day that I haven't even reached my true potential. 

It is amazing for me to think that until March 20 of last year (LA marathon), my PR was a 2:49. In less than a year, I have steadily improved at the marathon and begun to learn what makes me body adapt and develop. While I put all my eggs in one basket for this race in the last 10 weeks, I still did run 4 100ks and 4 marathons and plenty of long adventures as well. In the past year, I have had my cake and eaten it too. I feel out of my mind with joy right now and not simply because of the accomplishment, but because I see that my potential is only beginning to be tapped. By far the coolest feeling is knowing that there is more to be discovered, deeper to dig, more to uncover. 

At the beginning of last year, I thought the journey was to the 2012 Olympic Trials. I thought that that is where the chapter would end. Now I see, it wasn't the end of a chapter, it was the introduction to an entirely new book. I look forward to discovering what I can do, following the thread of adventure and discovery before me.

For now, I am just going to soak it in. Soak in every fleeting morsel of pride and endorphins. Bask in the accomplishment. Allow myself to have this moment be everything and the only thing for just a bit. Soon enough I will be heading towards for new adventures and climbing new mountains. I am so excited for the challenge and adventure that is before me.

Fast Foodies unite. AR record holder Deena Kastor and I after the race.


Media/Interviews:

A Texas sized celebratory meal at Chuy's.

Mom and my sister after the race. Love you guys!

Spirit of Adventure

Krissy and I celebrating our FKT at the Grand Canyon
(photo: Ultraspire)

This time last year, I was gearing up at my first attempt at making the Olympic Trials qualifying standards.  I decided at the end of 2010 to shift my focus towards that goal and for the first time in my running career really see how fast I could be if I focused on running the marathon. I had never really given the marathon my full attention and had never really put all of myself into it. I ran my first marathon in 2005 and by August 2006, I ran my first ultra and was hooked. From then on, the marathon was just a training distance, an afterthought. Yes, I PR'd a few more times at the marathon distance, getting down to 2:49 at the end of 2008, but I categorized myself as an ultrarunner. That is where my heart was.

I got into ultrarunning because I wanted to get away from my running being dictated by time, pace, and the constant pursuit of PRs. I didn't get into running for that reason and I didn't want to cultivate that part of my running. I run because I like to challenge myself, I like the adventure, I like the journey. Ultrarunning is a great way to explore those aspects. I hadn't ever considered that I could race marathons hard and retain that. I entered last year with a bit of trepidation, scared that the marathon training and the pursuit of the OT qualifier would change me as a runner and not for the better. I didn't want to become type A about my training.

My first attempt at the qualifier at Houston didn't work out like I had hoped but it served as the perfect catalyst for more clearly understand myself as I pursued this goal. I realized that it had to be more to me than just pursuing a time goal; it had to be about the spirit of adventure of pursuing such a goal. I found a way to retain who I am as a runner and why I run. 

Adventure: Can I battle through a 100k race 2 weeks after a DNF/food poisoning?
Go to the well, have the well be dry and keep going?

Ultimately, last year was a great adventure and exploration of seeing what my body could do as I pointed it towards getting as fast as I could in the marathon. Last year was also an adventure because I did this and still ran four 100k races, set a Fastest Known Time at the Grand Canyon R2R2R with krissy and spent the better part of the summer training with and then pacing Nathan for Hardrock 100. I didn't just spend the year obsessing over January 14th and my progress towards that. I work best in short training cycles of 8-9 weeks and this year have discovered what really works for me in terms of developing as a runner. The adventure has been within, exploring what my body can do at the speed end of the spectrum instead of the endurance end. I have discovered some cool things along the way, such as my ability to run uphill has improved extremely though the amount of time I spend on the skill has drastically decreased. My endurance hasn't waned and I am starting to learn how to race a marathon, which is such a different feeling than an ultra. Instead of trying to stay comfortable for as long as possible, I am trying to figure out how to run "eyeballs out" for as long as I can. I have challenged myself to confront my limits and have been pleasantly surprised to find that I have only begun to scratch the surface. The past year has brought me to a place where I am unafraid to be who I am as a runner. I am a hybrid runner. I run on trails and roads, I run marathons and ultras. I love it all and have finally been able to empower myself to follow my heart in choosing races instead of trying to fit in or be someone I am not. Over the past year, I have stoked and cultivated my curiosity and sense of adventure. Nearly every race that I have succeeded at, I have toed the line with one thought "I have no idea how this will go". Run at 100k National Championship 3 weeks after making my OT qualifier? Adventure. Finishing UROC 100k two weeks after DNF at World 100k and food poisoning? A Journey. Race NYC marathon two weeks after deciding NOT to race JFK 50 miler and after a 35 mile training run? Curiosity. 

I know have 3 days and 19 hours until I toe the line in Houston for the 2012 Olympic Trials. My recovery went quickly after NYC marathon, my month of December had some fantastic training, but it also had some really bad days and a cold lodged itself in my system last week that has yet to shake. It has been both good and bad, but that means I am back to the same place mentally: curious. I have been through the thought process of what a bad race would mean, I have shredded up time goals and ideas of what pace I might go out at. I am holding on to the sense of adventure and wondering, "what can I do with this race?" For me the most important part of any adventure is being present for it, soaking it all up and smiling through the obstacles that will undoubtable arrive. I don't think I have to state that I want to have a great race, I believe that is self evident. On Saturday I will race with curiosity, wonderment and a spirit of adventure, chasing after the best that I can be. I for one am excited to see what I discover.

500 miles done: 100 miles to go

Christmas morning run. Photo by Peter Duyan.

Today is the last day of the year. And what a year has it been. I feel like this year has been a good one. I have experienced many different things, had fantastic adventures and accomplished more than I ever thought possible in such a short amount of time.

In the space of a year, I have transformed myself as both a runner and as a business person. Whereas in 2010, I focused on 100 milers and trail more, 2011 had me pursuing the Olympic dream and seeing what I could transform myself into the marathon. It has been quite and experience and I am able to now fully understand who I am as a runner and who I want to continue to be. I am not just an ultrarunner, I am not just a marathoner. I am not just a trail runner, I am not just a road runner. I am all of it. This year I have found a way to balance all of my passions, push my limits, keep perspective and weave a common through line into all of my running: my love for it and enjoyment of it.

2011's big running shift was matched by an equally amazing shift in my business. In the course of less than a year, I went from nothing to having a personal cheffing business which I am not only proud of, but allows me to retain a wonderful work life balance while helping others to better health through the meals I provide. I am very blessed to work for some amazing individuals, who are not just good clients but interesting awesome people. This year I have taken my passion for food and made it a successful business and I cannot understate how empowering that is.

As this is published, I will be out for my final run of the year and my final long run before the Olympic trials in two weeks. This run will put me over 500 for the month of December which is my highest month total ever. My training has been good since NYC marathon and I have marveled at times how my body has been able to continue to adapt and learn throughout the course of the year.

With just two weeks to go before the Olympic Trials in Houston, I have about 100 miles to go until race day (cumulative running over two weeks of taper, 70 miles then 30). As any ultrarunner knows, a lot can happen over the course of 100 miles, but you put your faith in your preparation and hope for the best. In 100 miles, I will line up with the nations best and be as ready as I can be. And that is enough. It is enough for me to have come this far. It is enough for me to know that I will put every ounce of energy I have into that race to run the race of my life. This year has been one of digging down and seeking my potential. It is absolutely exhilarating to know that I can and will continue to make even more strides, even when I reach the finish line on January 14th.

Thanks for a great 2011! Cheers to another great year in 2012. Run happy and happy running!

View from Rock Springs on Mt. Tam

Strong is the new skinny

The other day someone I know referred to another runner as "Skeletor". They were not using this characterization as a compliment or referencing what Skeletor, He-man's arch nemesis, actually looks like:

They were using it to characterize a sickly, overly skinny, depleted, unhealthy look- much like a skeleton:


When this characterization was made and concerns voiced, I noticed an interesting and somewhat alarming emotion flicker across my consciousness: envy. For the briefest moment, I felt like being described that way (to my face) would be a compliment, a reflection of how hard I have been working in training. I immediately pulled myself up short. I wanted to slap myself around for even thinking such a thing. I had just finished up a killer good workout with 14 miles at marathon pace. During that run, I wasn't worrying that I should weigh less, I was powering along with strength, speed and levity. Why did that comment make feel self-conscious and envious? I knew I needed to seriously meditate on that question and not let an unhealthy attitude slide.

I have thought about it for several days now and have come to the conclusion that that thought comes from the crossroads where racing weight and body image collide. I have written about racing weight before, but I felt more thought was necessary because I am, in fact, at my "racing weight" (i.e. the weight at which I have run my fastest this year) and yet the comment still burrowed into my psyche.

Leading up to the Olympic Trials, I have been covering every detail, leaving nothing to chance and training like it is my job.  I've been absolutely devoted to the pursuit of my goals, working harder than ever and also managing to not become neurotic or overzealous. I am on what Nathan calls the "no fun diet", which is not a diet to lose weight mind you, but a diet to optimize my training and negotiate the pitfalls of having many dietary special needs. The diet also encourages having the right fuel at the right time and ensures that I have enough but not too much. I am doing all the right things to make sure my body is healthy, happy and able to do the incredibly hard work it needs to. 

The reality is, in order to lose any additional weight, I would have to be severely restrictive with my diet while trying to train at the highest and most intense level I have ever done. It would be unhealthy and I in turn, would become unhealthy and unable to do the work. Or get injured. Or get sick.

Running is a sport that prizes lightness and low body weight. It is not a sport that necessarily prizes positive body image or body confidence. The pursuit of race weight often takes on as much importance as the pursuit of the running goal itself. That is seriously out of whack. Getting to a certain weight won't inherently make you a better runner. In fact, racing weight should simply be a by product of hard training and a healthy diet. You have to fuel yourself to go fast, to do the work, to recover and make it to the start line healthy and ready to rumble. You shouldn't be trying to manipulate or dominating your body into doing something it doesn't want to, you should be cultivating it to encourage the growth and improvements. Being a "skeletor" is not something to be envied, it should be avoided at all costs. If you look unhealthy, it is likely that you are. I would never want to sabotage the efforts I make in training by depriving my body of the necessary fuel to hone it into the machine I want it to be. 

The comment, in hindsight, made me realize that I was still sub-consciously using weight as a yard stick of which to measure my progress by. I incorrectly thought that because I am working so hard that naturally I would become lighter. I gave that standard way to much credit. It stopped me from using comparative workout times as my standard of progress or seeing that my routine dropping of running partners was a sign that I am fit. Because, I am fit. That is for sure. 


I realized, upon reflection, that what needs work is my perspective, my body image and confidence. I have long struggled seeing myself "as a runner" since I have a completely different body type than your average female elite runner. According to a recent study, I am in fact 8 inches taller than my average competitor. I feel like Andre the giant lining up next to them. I should instead not compare myself to them. My hard work and dedication should instead fill me with confidence and empower me. 

I made a decision through this whole meditation. I am throwing out the old paradigm. I am making a choice to stop judging myself by the wrong measure. As my sister said recently, "perhaps I need to start embracing my body as powerful (and capable) instead of always worrying about how much I weigh". Being strong and healthy and capable are the proper values, these are the yardsticks. Strong is the new skinny. That is, the thing to be valued, pursued and held up as the ultimate motivator. 

My body is an amazing, powerful, strong machine and as I head into the last 23 days of training for the biggest racing stage of my life, I want to make sure I am doing everything to support that machine, continue to get stronger and faster, and to stay healthy. If anything, this whole conversation (in my head), has made me re-examine what my guiding values and beliefs are when it comes to my body and self-confidence and get my head on right. I love what my body can do. That is my yardstick. That is my value.

A day in the life the non-professional OT marathoner


With just 30 days left until the Olympic Trials I have been reading plenty of feature stories of professional runners getting ready to rock the Olympic Trials. While fascinating, I cannot, nor can the majority of the runners, relate to their lifestyles. Professional running is hard work, but so is training like a professional runner while still holding down a full time job. I decided on my evening run that I would share a typical day as I prepare for the Trials.

5:46am: Alarm goes off. Pretend I can't get out of the altitude tent so Nathan will get the snooze button.
6:05am: Stare at the clock and contemplate exactly when I need to leave the house for my run.
6:09am: Get out of bed, make cup of black tea.
6:10am: Drink tea while writing emails to clients.
6:30am: Get dressed in layers and prepare for run.
6:40am: Start running with Nathan to the Beach.
7:10am: Split up with Nathan and run longer through Land's End
7:35am: Have woman exclaim "You must be freezing" as I run towards her, despite wearing hat, gloves, long sleeve and long tights. It is 43 degrees out.
8:00am: Finish 11 mile run.
8:02am: Bundle up in warm clothes and start making breakfast.
8:03am: Make delicious and quick pumpkin oat pancakes with peanut flour.
8:15am: Eat pancakes while doing client planning for the days double (i.e. two clients).
9:00am: Take quick shower and get dressed
9:43am: Leave for work
10:00am: Arrive at Rainbow grocery and shop for clients.
10:24am: Leave Rainbow and drive to Whole foods to shop for clients.
10:44am: Leave Whole Foods and drive to client #1.
10:54am: Drive round and round in circles looking for a parking spot.
10:58am: Eat snack of kale chips and kombucha and end up wearing both since the kale chips are crumbly and the kombucha explodes.
10:59am: Thank the universe I am a chef and it is normal for me to have food all over my clothing.
11:05am: Start cooking for client.
12:40pm: Finish cooking, clean up and head home for lunch
12:54pm: Walk in front door, sprint to kitchen before I eat my arm off.
12:55pm: Reheat poblano, mushroom, chard enchiladas from the previous night. Put it on a bed of greens and call it a salad.
1:20pm: Leave house for second client
1:30pm: Start cooking for second client. Thank the universe that my client lives a half mile away.
3:45pm: Finish cooking, clean up and head to Whole Foods to buy supplies for dinner
3:55pm: Shop for fajita ingredients
4:05pm: Arrive home
4:12pm: Receive a text message from my mom about Jesus Toaster. Think its spam and text back to make sure her phone didn't get hacked.
4:14pm: Confirm phone not hacked and that according to CNN, the Jesus Toaster is moving "briskly" off the shelves this holiday season.
4:16pm: Realize my mom must be really bored at work.
4:17pm: Play a word in each of the 5 ongoing games of Words with Friends.
4:25pm: Leave house for run number two
5:00pm: Enjoy watching beautiful sunset over Golden Gate bridge
5:25pm: Run through a very dark Presidio and home I don't fall in a hole
5:27pm: Put on Poker Face and start running really really fast
5:40pm: Remember how much I love running at night and what a bad idea it is that I am wearing all dark clothes.
5:45pm: Finish 11 mile run #2.
5:50pm: Start making dinner. Steak and veggie fajitas.
6:05pm: Start writing blog about day.
6:27pm: Realize that the blog is taking me a long time.
6:30pm: Text from Nathan that he is going to be late. Realize I have time to stretch before dinner, but also realize that I might eat my hand off if I do this.
6:40pm: Stretch and do core work.
7:10pm: Finish making dinner
7:20pm: Dinner
7:45pm: Plan for my Thursday client
8:15pm: Take shower number two
8:30pm: Play more Words with Friends, W.E.L.D.E.R and read
9:20pm: Collapse into bed and try to go to sleep because of 4:35am wake up on Thursdays.