Race 4 Chase


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In the wake of the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy, it is nice to take comfort in an empowering story of selflessness – a story that rekindles feelings of love and the human spirit.

Often times, following a senseless crisis, we stand around, shell shocked in disbelief and ask ourselves, “what can I possibly do to help?” Thirty four year old Florida resident Brian Mora asked himself this exact question, and, unlike many, was able to produce a viable answer!

Brian first learned of the Sandy Hook shooting when his mother sent him a CNN Breaking News Alert and upon turning on the television, he saw live coverage of the details as they unfolded. In the weeks following the shooting, a friend of Brian’s reached out to him, providing information about one of the victims, 7 year old Chase Kowalski.

As stated by Chase’s parents on the memorial website created for their son,

Chase was an amazing son, brother, and grandson whose heart was only filled with love for all the people he touched. He was a fun-loving, energetic boy who had a true love of life. He completed his first triathlon at the age of six and ran in many community road races.

The fact that this young boy was so enthusiastic about triathlons and running resonated with Brian. As an avid runner and triathlete himself, Brian was eager to help keep Chase’s passion alive!

A local triathlon club in South Florida organized a memorial run for the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy. People came from all over to participate and Brian created a team of five adults who would “Race for Chase” the entire 26 miles – 1 mile for each victim. Their team was also joined by 7 year old, Logan, who ran 3 miles in honor of the victims.


Brian’s original “Race for Chase” team, December 2012

Unbeknownst to Brian, an official Race 4 Chase organization had already been established by Chase’s family and friends for athletes; athletes like Brian who wished to “turn tragedy into triumph and honor Chase’s love for sports”. In addition to his desire to contribute monetarily to the cause, Brian made the decision to dedicate his entire 2013 race season to Chase.

Brian created his own YouTube video to promote awareness for the fundraising aspect of his mission. He was even in direct contact with Race 4 Chase and they allowed him to design the triathlon gear for the organization.


Over the course of the following 10 months, Brian completed 18 races of varying distances, totaling 391 miles for the year. Often times, this meant racing back to back weekends, and in one instance, it included completing the 2013 NYC Marathon just seven days after racing a 70.3 Half Ironman Triathlon in Miami. Originally, Brian scheduled the Miami 70.3 to be his final race of the season, but once he was contacted by Chase’s mother, Rebecca, and asked to run the NYC Marathon, it was something he was compelled to do.

At the finish of the NYC Marathon with Chase's mother!

At the finish of the NYC Marathon with Chase’s mother!

Throughout his campaign for Chase in 2013, Brian was able to raise over $30,000 for the Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation (CMAK). The vision for the memorial foundation is to create Chase’s Place: A community center designed around wellness, both mental and physical.

In speaking with Brian regarding his 2013 race season, one of the major highlights for him was meeting Chase’s family in August. They heard of the extent to which Brian was honoring their son and wished to meet him in person. Through a project called The Sandy Ground Project (sandygroundproject.org), The New Jersey Firemen’s Benevolent Assosication intends to fund and build 26 new playgrounds in the tristate area to memorialize each of the victims. Chase’s playground was the 8th one built and is located in Normandy Beach, NJ. Brian was able to fly up to New Jersey and spend a few days with Chase’s parents and sisters.

Brian meets Chase's family!

Brian meets Chase’s family!

He was able to give Chase’s family all of his race numbers and medals he had earned up to that point in the year. They were very touched by this and lined their mantle with these symbols of Brian’s dedication to honoring their son. Rebecca mentioned to Brian that Chase always wanted a room full of trophies and medals and this warmed his heart, along with a very special bracelet that the family presented him.

As 2013 comes to a close, Brian does not see this as the end of his involvement with Race 4 Chase. The bonds he has made with Chase’s family and friends are those that will last a lifetime.

He will continue to race for Chase throughout all of his future personal endeavors, as well as, continue to contribute money to the foundation and assist in whatever way possible with future projects.

This year, CMAK established an alliance with the YMCA. It was extremely inspiring to see a grassroots effort to remember Chase’s spirit come together in a real, tangible way. My hope is to play a role that keeps Chase’s sprit alive, raises awareness, and allows the memories of this little guy to florish

Brian with his lovely wife, Judy, his father, Ben and future "IronBaby Mora"

Brian with his lovely wife, Judy, his father, Ben, and future “IronBaby Mora”

The direct link for Brian’s fundraising efforts can be found at http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/brian-mora/race4chase!

The Top 10 Reasons Why Alexa’s Mom HAS to Crew at Badwater Again!

Badwater 2013 is just 6 weeks away and as Alexa and I attempt to finalize plans, we just can’t wrap our “twin brain” around the idea of Leslie, Alexa’s super awesome mom, not accompanying us to Death Valley again next month. So, in the fashion of David Letterman’s Late Show, here is our top ten list!


10.  If you don’t come, how will we even make it there?  We need your amazing navigational skills so we don’t miss the exit to Death Valley like last time!

9. If you’re not there, who is going to kill the cockroaches in the shower at Furnace Creek?

8. Who is going to send me (Traci) fictitious good night text messages from Marshall?  (sigh…Marshall!!!!<3)

7.  We need the organizational skills of a Mom to keep all of the supplies in order and accounted for…you knew where everything was at all times. (except that time we drove all the way to Lone Pine and then…oh, nevermind!)

6.  We need someone there to protect us from the “muppet night stalker”! Before, during and after the race.  You have to be there to go off on her at dinner before the race & if she comes sneaking around Town’s Pass again in the middle of the night, we will be ready for her this time BEFORE she peels out in the stolen crew vehicle!

5. I have mastered the art of pep talking Alexa out of a meltdown around mile 80, but I seriously can’t handle another ER/staph infection fiasco alone!

4. We need a “real adult” to supervise!  For instance, you have to regulate the usage of the blinky lights & by that we mean, making sure that EVERYONE is wearing them! With a big emphasis on EVERYONE!!! (wink, wink!)

3. We won’t exactly know what to do when Alexa is heading up Portal Road and asks for her Mom…she loves me and all, but I’m no match for her mommy! 

2.  If you’re not there, no one can truly say “Hey, Alexa…I saw your mom last night!”

And the number one reason why Alexa’s mom HAS to crew Badwater again this year….


An Awesome Guy with a Huge (and Healthy) Heart


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Most of us take our health for granted. We often assume that because we appear to be healthy on the outside, that everything within us is also functioning the way in which it was intended. We can easily feel our heart beating inside of our chest and don’t really put much thought into the inner workings of this complex organ. Luckily, for 30 year old Nels Matson, he was in the right place at the right time and was given a second chance at life.

In November of 1984, 2 year old Nels was along for the ride at his sister Gretchen’s 8 week check-up. By chance, the family doctor decided to listen to Nels’ heart and what he heard resulted in him immediately instructing Nels’ mother to rush him to the hospital. Nels’ heart sounded like a washing machine. It was there, at a hospital in Springfield, IL that it was determined: Nels had a hole in his heart.

The following February, when a cardiac catheterization was performed on Nels, it was discovered that he had at least one pulmonary vein going into the wrong side of his heart. He was scheduled to have open heart surgery in July at Chicago Children’s Memorial Hospital and during the procedure, it was also found that he had THREE anomalous pulmonary veins in addition to the atrial septal defect. The surgery went extremely well and within four days, he was a typical mischievous 3 year old boy, being scolded for moving furniture around in the hospital nursery.

3 year old Nels following his surgery

3 yr old Nels following his surgery

Nels lived a very normal childhood. He was cleared for all activities by the time he was 5 years old and shortly after, he and his family moved to Iowa. He was greatly influenced by his Uncle Brian, who was a wrestler, and this became Nels main sport. Once he was in high school, Nels ran cross country to maintain his endurance for wrestling. As a decorated and talented wrestler, Nels was a state qualifier twice and even walked on to the Iowa State University wrestling squad in 2001!

My parents were very supportive of any challenge I wanted to take on, although they never allowed me to ride bulls.

In 2009, Nels life changed forever. For the first time, he researched his congenital heart defect and was shocked to learn that 1% of the world’s population is born with this condition. Around the same time, Nels had just been challenged by a friend to complete a 70.3 triathlon and although he didn’t even own a bike and had never trained in swimming, he signed up for the race, ready to get the job done. Coincidentally, during this same time frame, he stumbled upon a documentary about an obese woman who ran a marathon to raise funds for her friend who was ill. It was then that Nels became inspired to make his first triathlon a fundraising event. The stars aligned and he was able to raise over $2,000 for congenital heart defect research.

Upon finishing his first triathlon, Nels thought he had mastered cycling and decided he wanted to cycle across America.

I thought, what better way to get the word out about congenital heart defects than going from town to town and getting communities involved. I selected local children to honor as I cycled through each city and was fortunate enough to have many of them cycle along side me for a mile or so.

Nels completed his journey across the United States with the signatures of many children who have heart defects on his bike, raising approximately $19,000 for research. Nels was even interviewed on the Today Show as shown in this clip!

As if this wasn’t enough, Nels completed the transcontinental bike ride for a second time. This time, the crossing was completed with another cyclist and together, they were able to raise approximately $35,000!

So, you may wonder, what does an ambitious young wrestling coach do now in his spare time? Well, the answer comes as no surprise to me. He is training to run 1,200 miles from Bradenton, FL to the Cambodian Embassy in Washington D.C. benefiting an organization called Hearts Without Boundaries (HWB). Hearts Without Boundaries provides impoverished children in Cambodia life saving heart surgeries. They do this by funding volunteer medical teams from the United States to go to Cambodia to perform the surgeries. For more complicated cases, HWB brings the patients to the U.S.A or other countries.

Nels will run the entire journey with Diplo, The Diplomatic Penguin in a pack on his back. Diplo is a plush penguin that children with heart defects along the way will sign. At the end of the run, Diplo will be given as a gift of support to the children facing surgeries in Cambodia. There will also be designated “Heart Diplomats” along his route…children with congenital heart defects that have shared their story with their community and are also fundraising for their friends in Cambodia.

Nels and Diplo: The significance of the penguin in that like many children with heart defects, penguins also face many challenges throughout their journey of life

Nels and Diplo: “The significance of the penguin is that like many children with heart defects, penguins also face many challenges throughout their journey of life”

The goal of Nels’ most recent project is to raise enough money to fund at least 7 surgeries. With the cost of each surgery being approximately $3,000, the goal is $21,000. The run has been titled Tri 4 Number 1 Run and will begin at 7:00 am on June 15th from Pier 22 in Bradenton, FL. The run will end at the Cambodian Embassy in Washington DC on July 19th. Nels will be running through Tampa, Orlando, Daytona, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Savannah GA, Columbia SC, Charlotte NC, and Richmond VA! To see a more detailed chart of his route, click here! (the main website can be found here: http://www.t41run.com/)

How can you help?


Aside from donating, a great deal of help comes from sharing information regarding this project with people! Currently, there are approximately 100,000 Cambodian children suffering from congenital heart defects and very few are ever treated.


Nels would love your support by just showing up and sharing the open road with him! Tell families that have children with congenital heart defects to come out, say hello and sign Diplo!


Nels and his support team still have a few nights of non-sponsored lodging. Also, any additional nutritional donations you or someone you know could provide would be greatly appreciated! (as you can imagine, a run of this caliber requires some major fueling!)

And Just When I Thought My Feet Were Dry…



Race report from Traci’s cold and wet experience at Indiana Trail 100 this past weekend.

This past weekend, I flew up to Indiana to run the Indiana Trail 100!  It is Indiana’s first 100 mile trail race and I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to go back to my home state and earn a buckle with my parents and BFF, Lydgia, in tow!

Upon checking the weather for packing purposes, I realized it was going to be a bit chilly up there, but once I arrived in the Hoosier State, I quickly realized I had underestimated just how cold it was going to be.  Originally forecasted to be in the mid to upper 50’s, the weather was actually in the 30’s and with the wind chill, the “feels like” temps were in the 20’s.


As we drove toward the race site, Chain O’ Lakes State Park, I was very hopeful that the conditions would improve as we headed north. You see…

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Life (and 18 marathons) After Death


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We have all heard of near death experiences–individuals who report personal encounters associated with impending death and the feelings associated with this phenomena.

Sarasota native, Greg Goebel, however, has a much more riveting story than a near death experience. He actually died while doing what he enjoys most; running a marathon. Interesting thing is, he has since run 18 marathons following his death in January of 2011. How is this, you may ask?

JANUARY 9, 2011

It was a day like any other for Greg Goebel, father of three beautiful daughters and husband to his lovely wife, Ali. Greg awoke in the early hours of the morning to toe the line at his favorite marathon, the Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon in Northfield, MN. This event is held on an elevated indoor track at St. Olaf College and requires 150 laps to complete the marathon distance of 26.2 miles.

Greg, pictured far right, with friends before the start of the race

Greg, age 56, pictured far right with friends before the start of the race

The race began and everything was status quo for Greg as he approached the 1/2 marathon point of the race. Greg was certainly no stranger to the marathon distance; as a matter of fact, he had already completed 48 marathons since his first in February of 2008, including Zoom! Yah! Yah! the previous year!

The lap proceeding Greg’s death, he was having a great time and just happened to be running with the Race Director’s daughter. When he began to feel light headed and “weird”, she mentioned that her father had just put out bananas at the aid station on the opposite side of the track. Instead of taking an immediate detour to the table, for fear of cutting off fellow runners, Greg ran another entire lap.

When he reached the aid station 50 ft. beyond the half marathon distance, he grabbed a banana, took a bite and a drink, and it was then that Greg knew something was not quite right. He reached down to brace himself on the track and woke up 4 1/2 days later. It was in that moment that Greg Gobel, age 56, died and remained dead for approximately 3-4 minutes.

As luck would have it, Dr. Bob Aby was running about half a lap behind Greg and immediately rushed to his side to begin CPR. A nurse, Heather, also in attendance at the event, jumped in to assist Dr. Aby in reviving Greg, who had also aspirated the banana he was eating when he dropped to the ground. Although they were able to restart Greg’s heart, he never regained consciousness until days later. 911 was called and as part of Minneapolis Heart Institute’s Level 1 Heart Program, he was airlifted to Abbott Northwestern Hospital where it was determined that he had suffered from sudden cardiac arrest.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is defined as a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs and usually results in death if it’s not treated within minutes. Most instances that are related to cardiac deaths within athletes are a result of SCA. One well known instance of this would be American professional long-distance runner, 28 year old Ryan Shay, who collapsed while participating in the 2007 Olympic Marathon Trials in New York. It was later determined that Shay’s death was linked to SCA due to a cardiac arrhythmia.

Although Greg was technically already in a coma, he was forced into a medically induced coma as doctors put him through what is referred to as the Cool It Protocol. During this protocol, Greg was given paralytics so he was unable to move and then packed in ice to lower his body temperature to between 91 and 92 degrees to preserve the brain. Statistically, only 7% of people who have SCA outside of a hospital will survive. Of that 7%, only 10% of those individuals that do survive will survive with no brain damage. The odds were certainly stacked against Greg.

Miraculously, four and a half days after Greg was airlifted to Abbott Northwestern, he awoke. He hadn’t the slightest idea that he had died and felt no pain whatsoever.

It was a surreal experience. I woke up and felt fine…I had no pain. It was easy for me because I didn’t even know I had died. It was my wife and family who suffered; not really knowing if I was going to live.

The first pain Greg experienced following his death was when doctors immediately decided he needed to have an internally contained defibrillator implanted. He described it as “a pacemaker on steroids” that can shock the heart back into a normal pattern of beating, in turn saving his life if his heart were to ever malfunction again. Due to the fact that Greg did not have a traditional heart attack, there is really no known cause. He didn’t have any blockage and doctors cannot say with 100% accuracy whether it was or was not caused by running. He is, however, very grateful knowing that his physical conditioning at the time was what saved his life. He is certainly aware of his health and views his defibrillator as a “security blanket” that gives him the confidence to continue to run. There is no chance he would task the risk of running without it.

Greg was cleared to run on February 2, 2011; just 3 weeks following his initial episode. Since the incident, Greg has continued running marathons and has complete another 18, including the 2012 Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon, making his all time full marathon total 66 thus far.

2012 Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon: Greg wearing his "Half Marathon Record Holder" shirt

2012 Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon: Greg wearing his “Half Marathon Record Holder” shirt at the race the year following his SCA

These days, when attending races, he wears a sign on his front and back that says “LEARN CPR: It saved my life” in hopes that he can help inspire people and advocate CPR. He has also spoken at American Heart Association Fundraisers and speaks very graciously on behalf of the outstanding doctors who have blessed him with the opportunity to continue to run sensibly for as long as he can. Aside from running, Greg enjoys living, tennis and boating on his vessel named “SECOND CHANCE”!



Greg shared with me that if he had not woken up that day, he felt he had lived a full and wonderful life, but that he was not ready to check out. He also offered the following three pieces of advice:

  1. If you love or care about someone, tell them loud and tell them often. You never know when that time will come where you may not have the opportunity any longer.
  2. Learn CPR. You can save someone’s life. How horrible would you feel if the opportunity arose and you could have saved someone but were unable because you didn’t know CPR?
  3. Don’t will yourself to death. Often times people shut down mentally and give up on life because of illness or circumstances. Although he, personally, doesn’t feel inspiring, he hopes he can inspire others that have faced adversity to persevere. His refuses to live a diminished life and his mindset is that of living each day fully! Each and every time he runs, he feels he is conquering fear with every step.

Congratulations to you, Greg, and may you continue to run many healthy years and marathons to come!

Greg with his medals representing the 30 marathons that he ran in 30 different states and countries in 12 months to earn his 10 Star Marathon Maniac status

Greg with his medals representing the 30 marathons that he ran in 30 different states and countries in 12 months to earn his 10 Star Marathon Maniac status

Tres Amigos e do Caminho da Fe

You know that the world of ultra running is a very small group, when you travel thousands and thousands of miles to a whole different continent to run a 135 mile race, and you still know a good portion of the other runners. Next Tuesday, January 15th, I will be leaving to go down to Brazil to run the Brazil 135 (with Traci as my crew chief!) and will be racing against a handful of the runners that I completed Badwater with this past year. Now running 135 miles at once is definitely a feat in itself, especially when you add in mountains and high heat and humidity, however there are three runners who are going way above and beyond this 135 mile journey.

The Journey:

Starting on Wednesday, January 16th (only two days before the race), Tony Portera, Chris Roman and Charlie Engle will be running the entire Caminho da Fe. The Caminho da Fe, meaning “path of faith,” is a 351 mile pilgrimage route, which leads to the Nossa Senhora Aparecida Basillica in Aparecida, which is the world’s greatest Marian sanctuary. The purpose of the CDF is to provide its “pilgrims” moments of reflection and faith through the interaction with nature, which provides a combination of physical and psychological introspection. The Brazil 135 covers, 135 miles of this path.

The Idea:

Tony originally came up with the idea of running the entire CDF after he ran the Brazil 135 for the first time in 2010. He had such a great experience and fell in love with the course, the country and concept of the CDF that he wanted to go back and see it all. Chris and Tony had then become close friends after Chris crewed Tony at Badwater. Tony was inspired by Chris’s attempt to run the entire length of the Erie Canal and so let him in on his plan to run the entire CDF. The original plan was to not run the path in conjunction with the Brazil 135, but after speaking with the race director, Mario Lacerda, they decided to tie it in with the race. In January of 2011, Tony, Chris and Jarom completed the entire path in 7.5 days.

The Plan:

This time around however, Tony, Chris and Charlie are hoping to cover the distance in 6 days. In order to do so they have a plan that they must stick to, which pretty much leaves no room for error if they want to make it to the start of the Brazil 135 by the third day on Friday. The plan will be as followed:

Wednesday, January 16th: 67.1 miles
Thursday, January 17th: 66.3 miles
Friday, January 18th: 71.5 miles
Saturday, January 19th: 63.5 miles
Sunday, January 20th: 38.5 miles
Monday, January 21st: 44.8 miles

In addition to having to run slightly more mileage each day, Tony, Chris and Charlie also learned from their mistakes that were made in 2011 in order to better their time this time around. According to Tony,

“In ultra-endurance events of these distances, learning form prior experiences is a key to future successes. Take a race like Badwater or Brazil 135 for example. Typically, participants will improve in their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc… attempts, and a great deal of that improvement can be attributed to lessons learned from the prior experiences on those courses. Some of it is “mental” lessons learned. Some of it is physical. Some of it logistical. But, I think that the overall experience from the first time around, the knowledge of how our bodies react during such an extreme task and how to come with those reactions, is what will be a deciding “difference” that we will have to be aware of to succeed.”

The Path:

The section of the course that the Brazil 135 runs on will have 30,000 ft of elevation gain just in itself, so over the 6 day excursion, the men will get in more than a fair share of climbing. According to Tony, “the entire attempt starts out being hard, and simply gets more and more difficult as you go.: However, their toughest day will most likely be the day after the finish of the 135, not only because they will have already been running for four days straight but also because they will get to go up the “hill of the broken leg.” Ouch!

The Friendship:

So I would imagine that while running for 6 days straight in the mountains, in the heat and humidity, that maybe people would start to get on my nerves again and I would maybe be just a bit cranky. I could definitely see some problems arising! However, apparently these guys keep their cool the whole way despite being completely exhausted and sleep deprived.

“Of course everyone has their “moments” of delirium and crankiness, especially when attempting such a difficult physical and mental task. Our strong friendship and bond that we already have helps to get us through those moments. The fact that we have all experienced these moments of mental/physical challenges is what enables us to understand and accept what one of us may be going through at a particular time. Having a crew with the same experience/background is critical as well and in 2011 we had Glauber and Lynne Hewit- two ultra endurance athletes that knew exactly how to handle that “crankiness.” You deal with it, you fix it, and you move on.”
– Tony Portera

The Support:

This year Glauber and Brazilian runner and translator, Ivan Goncalves will be supporting the three in their efforts. A knowledgeable crew will be essential to them as there will be no aid stations during the race and especially not during the rest of their journey. Tony, Chris and Charlie are also supported in their adventure by their families back at home and also owe thanks to the race director, Mario, his wife, Eliana, and the rest of the race staff. In addition they thank Clovis Tavares and his wife who created the CDF because if it were not for them there would be no path of faith to traverse.

The Cause:

Every adventure that Tony Portera partakes in is dedicated for raising funds for the Challenged Athletes Foundation and this journey will of course be no different. If you would like to make a donation to the cause for this event please visit: http://raceforareason13.kintera.org/cdf2013

Chatting with Kara Goucher


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I’ve never been the type of person to be “star struck”.  I do not easily get swept away in fanciful tales of celebrities and their personal lives, nor do I tend to be the type of person who wants to collect autographs and memorabilia of famous individuals.  With that said, I do, however, greatly admire many people in our society that contribute greatness to the world in which we live.  Actors & actresses, authors, artists, musicians, historical figures and athletes are all among those who appear on this list. At the very top of my list is an amazingly humble and talented woman by the name of Kara Goucher.  I recently had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Kara, and, given the “backstory” of how this interview came about, it is unnecessary to state how ecstatic I was to have had this opportunity.  (read the “backstory” here!)

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous awaiting Kara’s call.  I mean, although it is pretty obvious by the way in which she carries herself that she is extremely down to Earth, who wouldn’t be freaking out a bit while waiting to interview their running idol?  However, the moment I answered her call and we began to chat, it was as if I was on the phone with a long, lost friend.

We delved right in, discussing Kara’s involvement with athletics in her early years.  She participated in a great deal of different sports growing up — softball, soccer, swimming, etc.  She described it as “a lot of okay” and expressed that running was the first time she was involved in a sport where she felt “kind of at home”.  For Kara, an extremely shy little girl, running is where she truly discovered herself.

I didn’t have to think about where I was planting my ski pole.  I didn’t have to think about where I was kicking the ball.  I just ran.

Kara got her first taste of running when she was six years old.  Her grandfather took her to an annual Mother’s Day race in her hometown of Duluth, Minnesota.  She did not, however, begin running competitively until she was 12 and ran on her Junior High School team.  It was then that she began to stand out as an athlete.  Knowing that she had the full support of her extremely close family, Kara always dreamed she would one day become an Olympian, but truly thought she might make it big as gymnast or “something more glitzy”.  She never really imagined that she would earn her living running professionally.


I, of course, wanted to get the scoop on Kara as an athlete, but I also wanted to gain some insight to her as a person; as a successful woman and as an individual.  There are many interviews in circulation about her and most of them are hyper focused on her running career, and most recently, her journey to the 2012 Olympics in London.  All of this is extremely important to me as a runner, however, I truly wanted to share with readers a different side of Kara that many people may not know.  For instance, one of her favorite things to do, aside from hanging out with “her boys”, husband Adam and 2 year old son, Colt, is cooking for her family.  She LOVES trying out new recipes and is, in her own words, OBSESSED with a blog called Iowa Girl Eats! She thoroughly enjoys food, but if forced to choose one thing to eat the rest of her life, she would pick pizza.  Currently, her favorite pizza is one from Mellow Mushroom that is covered with tons of vegetables, olive oil, feta cheese, garlic and chicken!  She doesn’t usually stress out over her pre-race meals.  Before a marathon, she goes with something bland and easy to digest like rotisserie chicken, rice and sweet potatoes, but if it’s a shorter race, she just sticks to whatever she is craving.

Having grown up in a close family, as an adult, Kara is extremely family oriented and truly enjoys spending any downtime she has with her family and friends.  A perfect lazy day for Kara would consist of heading to Target or Ikea with Adam and Colt to find “super stuff you can’t live without”, then picking up dinner and heading home. Nearly every Thursday night, she has a standing date: Girl’s Night with her friends who know and love her outside of running.  They usually meet at Kara’s place to indulge in sushi, wine and good conversation about life!  As far as a perfect date night with Adam, it would be a nice dinner out enjoying each other’s company, then heading home early to curl up on the couch in sweats and watch a movie with a big bowl of candy!

Adam, Kara, and Colt enjoying some time together in Minnesota last month!

When it comes to clothing, her own personal sense of style isn’t necessarily decked out from head to toe in Nike gear 24/7 as you may think. Nevertheless, she does enjoy quite an awesome deal from them — Kara shared that she receives an “amazing” shipment from Nike twice a year that includes the latest and greatest casual and running clothes.  She is allotted 16 pairs of shoes annually and also has an additional budget to put toward items she many need.  She often sees the price tags on items and realizes, she has no idea how much running shorts, sports bras, shoes, and socks actually cost and “dreads the day when she has to purchase them.”

More often than not, Kara is styled for photo shoots and she likes to take the lead from these trendy outfits.  Her favorite place to shop?  H&M!  She enjoys shopping there because she can purchase many different and stylish options without breaking the bank.

As an avid music lover myself, I was curious to know what a typical playlist on Kara’s iPod would sound like. She is a self proclaimed top 40’s girl.  Anything that is heard on the radio is more than likely on her iPod.  She will typically go on iTunes, preview songs and then download 8-9 that she likes until she gets tired of them and needs something new.  In the past, Kara trained while listening to music all of the time, but since she began training with Shalane Flanagan on her morning runs, she usually reserves the use of her iPod for her afternoon runs, if at all.


Several people claim to have a Love/Hate relationship with running.  This is not the case for Kara.  She truly LOVES what she does. Sure, there are times when she does not necessarily feel like heading out to run 2 hours in the rain, but she puts it in perspective by reflecting on her goals, what she wants to accomplish, and then she goes out and gets it done.  When you are training close to 6 hours a day, it may seem that it would be difficult to keep that love alive, but Kara manages to do so and has a very positive and appreciative attitude toward her running.

I don’t feel like myself unless I have run.  My day is never complete, or even started, until I have gone for a run

A typical day of training in the life of Kara Goucher looks something like this:


  • 8:00 am – Leave the house
  • 8:30 am – 80 min to 2 hour run (sometimes a steady 6:15ish pace; other times 18-19 miles with a “tempo workout” mixed in.  Her coach, Jerry Schumacher, will bike along with her at times, but this fall, he has only been meeting her on Tuesdays and Thursdays.)
  • 10:00 am – 1 hour core session; planks, kettle bells, medicine balls, weights, etc.
  • 11:00 am-  Physical Therapy


  • Usually a 40-48 minute easy run followed by stretching.

Other than core work, Kara doesn’t really cross-train much.  She was doing quite a bit of aqua jogging following the London Olympic Games to recover from the tough marathon course. Early on, while training her body to become accustomed to the high mileage associated with an elite marathoner’s training regement, she would used her AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill frequently.  Now that her body can handle the 120-125 miles per week, she hasn’t really used it in almost an entire year.


For Kara, being married to a world class runner certainly has it’s perks.  Although Adam is technically retired, he will occasionally run with her.  They ran together quite a bit while she was recuperating following the 2012 Olympics and previously, after the birth of their son, she ran almost exclusively with Adam while training for The Boston Marathon.  During her pregnancy, Kara was able to continue to run and a great deal of information regarding her training and experience as an expecting mother can be found in this wonderful article, Great Expectations, featured on the Runner’s World website.  I did speak briefly with Kara regarding her post pregnancy experiences and she shed some light on what it was like getting back into the swing of things.

I ran while I was pregnant, but for 9 months, I took it easy. I never pushed myself.  I always backed off when I felt tired so I had to remind myself of what it felt like to push through the pain and keep going when I was struggling. Colt was nearly nine months old before I overcame that hurdle and was able to really push again.

Kara really missed the routine of training the way she was accustomed to while she was carrying Colt, however, once he was born, aside from the issue of learning to train hard again, she experienced things that many women often do.  She was extremely tired, she nursed for 4 months, and she also experienced a great deal of guilt and anxiety when she would leave Colt to go for a run.  She attempted, only once, to run with him in a jogging stroller.  She found it to be so hard and frustrating, but because she didn’t want to be away from him, she actually convinced Adam to run with her, pushing Colt alongside in the stroller.  Kara giggled as she recalled a specific day in San Diego.  “I had a 2 hour run. And we were running hard! I can just remember poor Adam dodging people with the stroller!”


Everyone surely realizes that Kara represented the USA in the marathon just a few months ago at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.  People may not, however, so vividly recall her first Olympic experience in Beijing as a 5,000m and 10,000m athlete.

Kara and Kimberley Smith of New Zealand compete in the Women’s 10,000 meter final at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Kara finished 10th. (Stu Forster/Getty Images)

When I asked her if she prefers to be on the track running shorter races or on the road, racing the marathon distance, she had mixed emotions.

The events are extremely different.  During the marathon, all of the attention is on you and you’re a rockstar because people wait around for hours on the course and you are among the first people they see.

She loves being on the track…the stadium, being under the lights and, as much as it evokes anxiety in many track athletes, she misses the last lap of a race.  She misses “hearing that bell and knowing everyone is pushing and giving their all.”  But, on the other hand, she loves the marathon distance because she is discovering as she competes more frequently at this distance, she doesn’t even truly know the event yet.  This is very exciting to her. “I am always extremely emotional after a marathon because you put so much into it.”  Below is a photo Kara shared with me.  Considering the number of times she is photographed while running, this picture is exceptionally special to her because she has deemed it as her all time favorite running photo of herself!

“This is my favorite picture of me running of all time. It was at the Olympic Trials Marathon last January. It was as I rounded the last corner with about 150 meters to go. I wasn’t going to win, or set a PR, but I was making the Olympic Team. After a very difficult year, a dream was coming true for me. It literally took my breath away and this picture captured that one moment. I love this picture because it reminds me of why I run and the power it has.”

 I asked Kara to try and summarize her most recent experience at the Olympics in London and she was completely charged as she spoke of it!

I LOVED it!  In Beijing, I put a lot of pressure on myself to medal and felt like I had failed everyone.  When I returned home, I told myself, if I ever have the privilege of representing my country at the Olympics again, I am going to enjoy it.  I was determined to soak it in!

And that is exactly what Kara did!  She and Shalane, her friend, training partner and fellow USA marathoner actually led the race for the first 12 miles.  “It was electrifying.  I literally had goosebumps…the hairs on my arms were standing on end.  I had never been a part of something so intense.  There were people shouting my name, and cheering so loudly! It was amazing!”  Kara began to experience some difficulty at mile 16, but she was determined to push through and finish strong.  Even when her body was cramping, she didn’t want to check out and feel sorry for herself.  She walked away with no regrets or negative feelings toward her performance.  She walked away knowing that she had given her all.

Kara and Shalane placing 10th and 11th at the 2012 Olympic Marathon


As an incredibly humble and approachable individual, I wondered how it must feel for Kara to be famous.  “Famous is a funny term,” Kara laughed.  “People sometimes ask, can you go to the grocery store and I’m like, yes, I go to the grocery store and nothing happens.”  It’s only at certain running centered events where she feels the sensation of being “famous.”  “I am a dork!  My family sometimes laughs at me when people want my autograph.”

There are times I think, why would people care what I’m doing.  Like they are going to wake up one day and realize that I’m just a normal person.

The most rewarding part of her “fame”?  Knowing that she has inspired others and that there are so many people; thousands that she will never meet, but have touched her heart.  When she logged onto Facebook after she finished the marathon in London, she was literally in tears knowing that so many people were watching her at the Olympics.  “It feels so good having so many people behind me, believing in me and cheering me on!”


Because she is a professional athlete, you may assume that Kara only inspires others in life.  This, however, is not the case for her.  She greatly admires professional athletes Allyson Felix (200m 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist), Chrissie Wellington (Four time World Ironman Champion), and Paula Radcliffe (Women’s Marathon World Record Holder).  She also finds inspiration in everyday life…from regular people like you and me.

A lot of things inspire me!  People doing things they didn’t know they were capable of is the best!

“Paula running a 2:15 marathon or my neighbor completing their first race.  I am just as inspired by people running their 1st marathon as I am people who are elites.  I love to see people living outside of boundaries; people not placing limits upon themselves.” When asked one piece of advice she would give to any aspiring athlete, she said, “Have patience.  It takes time to improve in all sports.  I started running when I was 12…I am now 34 and can say that I have gotten better every year.  I am blessed with the gift of patience and vision.  Don’t rush the journey!”


Perhaps in the future, YES!  Kara shared with me that she never thought she would ever want to run an ultra distance race, but after reading the book Born to Run, she absolutely wants to complete one once she is finished competing at the professional level. Oddly enough, she expressed that she “doesn’t know if she can do it.” Well, Kara, I don’t really think you have anything to worry about.  And besides, I know of two girls who would be more than happy to help crew/pace you to a successful 100 mile experience! Right, Alexa!?

Chimera 100 Race Report


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Friday night before the race I woke up around 1 in the morning to the sound of pouring rain outside. Oh great, I thought, it’s going to be the 2009 race all over again. I already wrote a post about it, but the 2009 Chimera 100 had horrendous conditions. It was pouring rain and there were nasty biting cold winds that caused the race to be cancelled about 6 hours into the race. I tried not to think about it too much and fell back asleep for another couple hours until my alarm went off at 3:30.

When I woke up, surprisingly I was pretty alert… usually I drag and am pretty slow in the morning. I got my things together, made myself some eggs and then went to give Mark, who was still in bed sleeping, a kiss good bye before I left.

“Have a good run baby. This is your race, I know you’re gonna kill it,” were Mark’s half ass words of encouragement. Yeah yeah yeah… just go back to sleep. 

Candy Store Loop: Miles 0-20
Since I DNF’d my last 100 mile attempt, I decided that I needed to go into Chimera much better prepared and with a plan. A couple days before the race, I made a plan for myself, giving myself goals of how fast I wanted to be at each of the aid stations. My biggest goal was to just complete the race, but next to that, I wanted to finish in under 28 hours and getting a silver belt buckle. Under 30 hours would get silver and over 30 would get bronze.

I gave myself the first goal of being done with the Candy Store Loop in 4.5 hours. I REALLY hate this loop, but I actually felt pretty decent throughout this first section. I’m not sure why I hate it so much, it actually is a really pretty loop, but I was happy that it was the first 20 miles and not the last so that I could just get it over with and not have to think about it again. The loop starts and ends at the race start, where you can use your car as an aid station, and I ended up being back at my car in a little under my goal. I quickly switched into my Hokas, drank 300 calories of Vitargo and then was back out on my way in exactly 4 hours and 30 minutes into the race. Right on time.

Blue Jay to Bear Springs: Miles 20-42.5
The course continued after Blue Jay for a mile slightly uphill until we reached the Main Divide road, which took us on a steep, two mile climb to the top of the Trabuco trail. I felt fairly good going up the hill and would alternate running a minute and power walking a minute up the hill. At the top was an aid station, which I was in and out of quickly and then headed down the very technical Trabuco trail, which dropped down into the back end of Holy Jim. As I ran though Holy Jim, I was having a ball. I felt absolutely amazing… it was night and day compared to how I had felt at this point at Rio Del Lago a month before. At 28 miles in, I hit the next aid station, which again I was in and out of in under a minute and then headed out for a 10 mile out and back section. The first five miles to the turn around were slightly downhill. I still felt good, but wanted to make sure I held back a little and so I would run for 9 minutes and then walk for a minute. After the turn around, I caught up to Andi Ramer and another runner and stuck with them for the five miles back to the Holy Jim aid station. Since it was slightly uphill on the way back, I had planned on running 4 minutes and then walking one, which was the same plan that they had. It was nice to have company on this section and Andi was a crack up. I think I was laughing the whole 5 miles, which made this really boring section go by really fast. Before I knew it, I was back at Holy Jim, 8 hours and 5 minutes into the race… 55 minutes faster than my goal plan.

After this aid station would be a long climb… 8 miles up to the top of Santiago Peak. The first mile of it was only a slight uphill and so I tried to run as much of it as I could. I passed a runner and he laughed at me and asked me if I knew what I was in for. Yes, I thought, which is why I am running every possible flat section that I can. 

After a mile or so in, the switchbacks started, which would basically continue until the peak. I tried to play games with myself by making myself run one switchback and then walk the next. Again, I was surprised at how well I felt at this point in the race and going uphill. I made it to the Bear Springs aid station in excellent timing, about 9 hours and 45 minutes into the race, still ahead of my predicted time of 10:30. Two of my friends, Deborah and Kristen, were working the aid station, which was stocked with some hot food. I totally was not expecting hot food this early on in the race and was thrilled to have some especially since the sun was setting it was getting pretty cold out in addition to being in higher elevation. Some hot chicken broth felt so good going down and I also had a piece of quesadilla. I put my windbreaker on and then was back out on my way.

Bear Springs to Maple Springs: Miles 42.5-49.7
About 30 minutes after leaving the aid station it was pitch black out, but I was lucky enough to catch up to another runner, Matt, and we pretty much stuck together the whole section until the next aid station. The majority of this section was slightly downhill. I was getting a tad tired and it was a little harder to navigate in the dark and so I slowed down probably just a tad, but was still moving really well. I was excited to get to the next aid station at Maple Springs because I had my drop bad. When I arrived I sat for a few moments and drank the bottle of Vitargo that was awaiting me and also switched out my socks. Before I left, I asked one of the volunteers what time it was, in which he replied 5:55pm. Although I was stoked that I was still way ahead of goal pace, one thing worried me.. I had told my mom and my pacer, Amelia, to meet me at the Silverado aid station (which was only 7 miles away) between 8 and 9pm. I knew that it wouldn’t take me a full 2 hours to go the 7 miles to the aid station since it was all downhill, so I was just hoping that they would be there a bit early so I wouldn’t have to wait too long.

Maple Springs to Silverado Canyon: Miles 49.7 to 56.8
The first four miles after Maple Springs were all downhill switchbacks and my stomach started to feel weird. I think the downhill running was just mixing around the assortment of random foods I had eaten throughout the day and it was not feeling good. However, I was excited to get down to the aid station and see my mom and Amelia and so I pushed through it and tried to just ignore it. When I hit pavement, I knew that I only had 3 more miles of slight downhill and so I pushed the pace a littler harder, but when I got to the aid station I couldn’t find them anywhere. I asked a volunteer what time it was and he informed me that it was 7:30pm. I had predicted my time into the aid station around 8:30, but had told my mom to be there around 8 just in case, and I thought that would have been really fast for me. I told the volunteers that I would give them about 15-20 minutes before I would just continue on my own. The next 3 miles had a 2,000 ft climb, which meant that at this point in the race I would be walking, but maybe Amelia could catch up to me (I was allowed to have a pacer with me from this point on until the end of the race). I used the time to go use the restroom and just try and let me stomach settle since at this point it was really becoming a problem. After about 15 minutes at the aid station, I told the volunteers that I would give them 5 more minutes before I took off. I really didn’t want to leave with out seeing them though.. my mom had a clean change of clothes for me and I really wanted to have Amelia to run with through the night. Fortunately though, literally two seconds after I said I would give them 5 more minutes, my mom and Amelia appeared. I quickly changed my clothes, tried to get down some Vitargo and then Amelia and I started our climb up the Silverado Motor Way.

Silverado Canyon back to Maple Springs: Miles 56.8-65.8
LIke I said, the next three miles was all climbing. I run this section of the course quite often, but never at night. It was actually a good thing that we got to do this section at night so we couldn’t see how steep we were climbing or how much further we had to go. My stomach still hurt on the way up, but luckily Amelia gave me some Tums to try and when those didn’t work she suggested sucking on some peppermint. Nothing seemed to work, but we chatted the whole way up the hill, which at least helped to take my mind off my stomach. The whole 3 mile climb actually went by faster than I thought it would and I think in maybe a little over an hour or so we were at the top and were greeted by aid station captain, Scott Mills. Since I hadn’t eaten anything in over an hour and kept telling Amelia I would eat something in 10 more minutes (which eventually bought me enough time until we were at the aid station), I decided to be a good runner and try and get some food down. I decided on some ginger-ale and saltines and then we were back out on the trail.

Scott had told us that we had about 5 miles of rolling hills until the next aid station (which was back at Maple Springs), but it was more like 6 miles of pretty much all uphill and only a few short downhills. When someone says, “rolling hills” I get the mental picture of nice gentle hills, not straight up climbing. So much for wishful thinking. Anyways, I tried running all the possible sections that weren’t too steep, but that wasn’t much. On any of the downhill sections my stomach would start to ache again. UGH. But after what seemed like forever we made it back to the Maple Springs aid station.

I didn’t want to waste a lot of time at this aid station. It was FREEZING out if you were not moving and so if I sat too long I knew I it would just be way too hard to get moving. The Chimera seemed to be eating people alive as the whole tent was filled with runners who decided they would go no further. I sat in a chair and mixed in my magic powder A, which I had strategically waited until mile 65 to take, into a 300 calorie serving of grape Vitargo, drank the whole bottle in about a minute and then we headed back out towards Sanitago Peak.

Maple Springs to Indian Truck Trail: Miles 65.8 to 75.6
I had already ran the next 5 miles of the course, but coming from the opposite direction, which was a slight downhill, which meant that we were now going on a slight incline. We alternated running and walking and talked the whole time. At some point we were passed by one runner who was French and so we called him, “Pepe.” We both must have been really tired because we found this quite funny. We tried to look for Pepe later in the race, but he was never to be seen again.

Once we hit the peak, there was a new aid station set up, that had not been there the first time. It was manned by my friend, Chris, and another guy and they had all sorts of hot food, including bacon! I sat down for about 2 minutes, ate my bacon and I think drank some broth, grabbed a handful of Cheezits and then took off. Amelia and I walked for a moment and then she tried saying something to me, but I couldn’t understand her at all.

“What did you say?” As I shoved my handful of cheezits into my mouth.

“You’re mom is meeting us around 3 right? Sorry I had a handful of cheezits in my mouth,” she said.

“Yes,” I garbled back with my mouth full.


I swallowed the cheezits, “Yes. Sorry, I had a mouthful of Cheezits too.”

This pretty much cracked us up. Its funny how the simplest things are so hilarious 70 miles into a race. We continued on, running a lot of this section, and talking so much that we turned a corner and were surprised to see that we had made it to the Indian Truck Trail aid station. We were shocked that we had made it there so quickly and to top it off there was a guy dressed in a cowboy outfit, lit up with lights all over. Again… the simplest things are hilarious this far into an ultra. We thought he was just so cool. Once inside the aid station, I chowed down on some quesadilla (something with a little grease was the only thing that sounded remotely tolerable at this point) and then we went back out.

Indian Truck Trail to Corona and Back: Miles 75.6-89.6
The first mile and a half or so started out fairly flat and runable, but then the rest of the way was downhill. A lot of people might think that 6 miles of downhill might be good, but at this point in the race, my legs were pretty trashed and were not liking going down, at least not for that many miles. Still, Amelia and I slowly ran the majority of the downhill, until about the last half a mile, which we walked in to the Corona aid station.

The Corona aid station (mile 82) would be where I would pick up my mom to pace me for the last 18 miles in and where Amelia and I would part ways. When we got in, my mom was right there waiting for us, ready to run (well hike) and so excited to see me. I sat down and luckily some guy gave me a couple blankets to wrap around me. I knew that I was going to have to eat some food again, since I hadn’t eaten for 7 miles, but luckily there was hot pizza! I ate 3 squares of pizza, drank some coke, took a Fein (caffeine) and then was ready to get this beast of a 100 over with.

So now that I had just gone down 7 miles, I had to turn around and go right back up it. I didn’t even attempt to run to run the long massive hill, but just put my head down and tried to walk as fast as possible. About three-quarters of the way up the sun started to rise. It was pretty amazing to look back and see how far up we had just climbed. Although at this point I was exhausted, it was a really cool feeling to realize that I had just ran all through the night. And as much as I would love to finish in sub 24 hours, before the sun comes back up, sunrise is of my favorite parts of the race. I also know at this point I will perk up a bit after having been in the dark for so many hours. I have never ran a 100 after daylight savings time and so this race definitely had the longest night of any other 100 I have done… 13 hours of darkness!

As we made our way up the trail, there were still lots of runners who were still heading down. I was feeling pretty horrible at this point, but I was just so happy that I was heading back up instead of down. Once we hit the semi-flat section, I knew we were getting close to the aid station again and so we started running again. At some point going back up the hill, the back of my left knee and my right ankle started bothering me quite a bit, so when I would run, I could only run for a few minutes at a time until the pain was too much and I had to walk it out for a few moments.

When we arrived at the Indian Truck Trail aid station for the second time, I sat down for a few moments and ate some more quesadilla. I was now only 10 miles from the finish. Thank god! The aid station volunteers said that it was about 4 miles until the next aid station and it started with a small uphill and then would be downhill the rest of the way to the finish.

Indian Truck Trail to the Finish! Miles 89.6-100
When we left the aid station we realized that the volunteers were giving it to us gently when they said we had a “small” hill and then it was all downhill. Maybe if I hadn’t already had 90 miles under my feet, the hill would have felt not quite so big, but right then it felt giant. So my mom and I hiked for a while. Once the trail leveled out, we tried running as much as we could, but it was never that long because another hill would come up. I was getting a bit cranky because I had wanted to get to the next aid station and it seemed like it was taking FOREVER. It felt like we had gone way more than 4 miles, but FINALLY we made it. Nothing at the aid station looked good to eat and I asked the volunteers how many miles until the last aid station and they said 4 more miles. I knew once we got to the last aid station that it would be about 3 miles to the finish all downhill and I knew that section really well. However, I wasn’t quite sure on the section from where I was until the last aid station. I was thinking maybe 2 or 3, but when they said 4, I just got really pissed off. Not at the volunteers, I know that its not their fault that I had that long to go, I was just irritated. So I stormed off and kept on hiking.

After about a mile, the trail started looking really familiar again. I had not ran this section of the course in a couple years, but things started coming back to me and I knew exactly where we were, how many more hills we had, how many more turns we had to make, etc. This put me in a much better mood. I knew that we were almost done!

When we made it to the last aid station at Trabuco, we didn’t stop long at all. I hadn’t eaten anything for the last 8 miles and everything sounded horrible so I just grabbed some hard candy to suck on and kept going. Going downhill did not exactly feel great, but I knew it was just 3 miles until this whole thing was over with and so my mom and I ran as much as we could. I kept asking my mom what time it was because I wanted to make it into the finish before 10:15am, which would be the 28 hour mark. I had enough time to do it, but just couldn’t dilly dally in.

Finally we made it to a paved road, which meant that we had about a mile to go. This last mile I felt so sick, like I was going to have exorcist style vomiting, but unfortunately, nothing would come out. We alternated walking and running until we saw two ladies who told us we had 0.4 miles to go and so we ran the rest of the way in.

I finished in 27 hours and 45 minutes. I beat my goal of 28 hours and also came in 5th female AND was the youngest finisher in the entire race.

Chimera 100 was definitely the hardest trail 100 I have done yet. Badwater was harder, but that race is just in a league of its own. I am so proud of myself for finishing this race though. I set some goals, I made a plan and I did it. No matter how hard it got, never once did the option of quitting come to mind. I didn’t allow negative thoughts into my head and I really think that having a positive mindset is the difference between succeeding and failing at 100s.

Thank you so much, Amelia for pacing me through the night. I am glad we finally got to run together. You were amazing. Maybe the reason I DNF’d RDL was so I could meet you and you could help me tackle this beast of a race instead 🙂

Thank you mama for pacing me the last 18 miles in. Feels pretty cool to be able to finish a 100 mile race with my mom! Actually, that is 2 races now that you have paced me to the finish! It seems to be working for me, so don’t be shocked when I ask you to pace me again.

Thank you to all the volunteers and to Steve and Annie Harvey. You all outdid yourselves and put on such a well organized event. Will be back to conquer this beast again!

Finally thank you Genr8, for providing me with Vitargo. It worked wonders every time I took it and never ever gives me stomach issues… I had stomach issues because I decided to eat gels in-between aid stations. Big mistake!

And thank you Hoka One One for providing me with shoes!! I think a big reason why my legs felt so great so far into the race was because of wearing the Hokas and I didn’t even have any blisters, which is amazing for such a technical race.

Things people say when you tell them you just ran 100 miles…

Yesterday morning I finished my 5th 100 miler, the Chimera 100… a beast of a race with 22,000 feet of climbing and technical trails. Needless to say, I am a bit trashed today and am having a difficult time even hobbling around.

So this morning I hobbled into Starbucks because I was craving a salted carmel mocha. I ordered my drink and then had a seat because, well I just ran 100 miles and it hurt to stand. When my drink was ready, I had to brace myself on the chair in order to stand up and then did my hobble wobble over to the counter to get my drink. The barista looked at me a bit funny and I could tell that he was trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Then he asked, “Did you just run a mile or something?” To which I replied, “Actually, I ran 100 miles.”

I think that he thought I literally just finished running 100 miles because his response was, “OMG do you want some water or something?” I told him no thanks and that I was fine, but he asked me again if I was sure and that they had plenty of water. As I walked out, I was giggling to myself because I could hear the baristas talking between themselves, sounding pretty astonished that I had just ran 100 miles.

Now I know that their reaction to me running 100 miles was normal. I know that most people do not even know that 100 mile races exist, but I guess to me, it has become somewhat “normal.” I do not mean that to sound that 100 mile races are easy and no big deal (because they are definitely hard and finishing one is a HUGE accomplishment), however my boyfriend and most of my close friends also run ultras and so in my world, it is nothing out of the ordinary.

Over the past three years that I have been running 100 milers and ultras I have become use to people’s reactions after I have told them that I ran 100 miles, but I still think that they are funny. Sometimes I wish that I could I could give a smart ass remark to some of their questions and comments, but I restrain myself because I know that in their world, it is not natural to run 100 miles.

So here are a lot of the other reactions that I have gotten. If you have gotten any others that aren’t mentioned below, please share!

1. “I dont even like to drive my car 100 miles!”
2. ” You know there are cars for that right?”
3. “100 miles? In one day?” or “Over how many days?”
4. “But you slept right?”
5. “Did you eat?”
6. “But, where did you go to the bathroom?”
7. “I don’t think I have run 100 miles during my whole life!”
8. “What do you think about for 100 miles?”
9. “What pace do you run at?”
10. “How fast can you run a mile?”

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Cycling….


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Tomorrow I will be entering my first cycling race… A 6 hour time trial race around a 16 mile, triangular loop in Palm Springs, CA. This was a total last minute decision… My friend, Lauren, invited me to go down and do the race with her Thursday night… which meant not a whole lot of time to train lol.

Before I quit training for the Furnace Creek 508 in August, I was given some advice by ultra cyclist, Dani Grabol, on things she wish she knew before started cycling. Not so much training advice, but more so how to stay somewhat comfortable on the bike. I was reviewing it today, and thought that it would definitely be worth sharing so here we go…

Saddle Sores:

There are 3 types:

Ingrown Hairs/Blocked Hair Follicles: These look like little whiteheads or zits and can appear anywhere really. They are usually popable and have some type of pus in them. The best way to prevent these is to make sure that you don’t shave before a long ride and apply plenty of anti-friction cream. I use a homemade version made with bag balm mixed with a tiny bit of neosporin and cortisone cream.  If you get them anyways, the best way to treat them to make sure that they don’t get infected. Clean them with Hibicleanse (found at target with the first aid stuff in a green bottle) you can apply a zit cream or just use the hibicleanse on a cotton ball and they should dry up pretty easily. Even if you don’t have them, if you feel like your skin is raw I would still wash with the hibicleanse as I truly think it prevents them. Tea tree oil is also an effective anti-bacterial. Don’t pick at them or they will open up and can very easily get infected! The biggest issue here is anti-chafe and not shaving. Some RAAM women have gone as far as to have laser hair removal to prevent these! Some cyclist use corn starch powder based products. I have tried these but feel like nothing works as well as bag balm (in a green tin found at walgreens or CVS)

Blood Blisters: These are usually found where your leg meets your crotch area and are a result of something pinching. They are caused by either a saddle that is too wide for you, too narrow, or shorts that are too big. People have a tendancy to think that more padding equals more comfort, but this is not always the case! You want the chaomis of your shorts to fit very snug in your crotch area and make sure that the fabric doesn’t bunch up when you sit down. Some bike shops can measure your sit bone width and inseam and recommend a saddle based on that. You want to look at the saddle shape (pear shaped or T shaped) as that makes a difference along with saddle width. If you get a blood blister you can drain it pretty easily and carry on.

Pressure sores: These are actual raw spots or bumps that appear on your sit bones as a result on excessive pressure. This is more prevelant in the mountain biking world, because they are forced to sit so upright. If you are riding a time trial bike you shouldn’t have an issue with this because your sit bones are unlikely to be making contact with your saddle. This is an issue sometimes on a road bike with saddle that is pear shaped if your hips are narrow. Finding the right saddle and alternating between positions and standing up when you can will help prevent these.

Making sure that you change out of your shorts immediately post ride can help with infection prevention but it’s likely not going to keep you from getting saddle sores.

Grip Strength:

You will want to work on this. I got De Quervins tenosoa after my ride across FL and Carpal tunnel syndrome is common. Do these exercises http://thesportfactory.com/site/trainingnews/Preventing_Carpal_Tunnel_Syndrom_in_Cyclists.shtml. Also, buy one of those hand squeezing things that baseball players use. They also make ones for your individual fingers made for rock climbers. You will want your forearms and hands as strong as a rock climbers, this is especially important on courses that will be windy!

And Other Good Stuff:

Use a sports bra that is made for LOW impact, preferrably one that isn’t a racer back. Go for one that has the least amount of support because that equals less pull on your traps.

Buy a pair of cycling shoes that are a size too big. You might already know this from running, but in cycling your feet will swell as well. Some people take “rest breaks” and prop their legs up to prevent swelling.

SWIM! And when you do make sure that you breathe bilaterally! You will SO need those neck muscles! You don’t want to be the person on course with their head taped up because you can’t lift it anymore!

Thank you Dani!!!