Monthly Archives: March 2016

Running – Moments That Moved Me – Ultra Marathon


Most of us will never hear the roar of the crowd as we race for a podium finish.  Most of us may never qualify for Boston.  All of us will accomplish more than we ever thought possible as long as we continue to run.

stillness

My Top 10 Running Moments

10.  Running 200 miles in one month, for the first time, June 2013.

9.  Completing my first marathon in 2005.

8.  Running my first sub four hour marathon at Niagara Falls in 2013.

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7.  Having a Running story published (twice) in a national publication.

6.  Pacing a new friend to her first half marathon (2011) and first marathon finish in 2012.

5.  Finishing step for step with my running mentor at Graveyard 100k in 2014.

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4.  Finishing my first 100 mile race at Umstead in 2014 (22h 51m 05s).

3.  My wife surprising me with a re-commitment of our marriage at the City of Oaks Marathon in 2015.

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2.  Running with my grandson Aiden for the first time, 2014.

1.  I’ve continued to run in some form or fashion, high mileage or low for 16 years ( Aug of 2000 – present.)

What are your top running moments, please take a moment and post a comment below and tell us about them.


Marathon – Runner – With Olympics Trails Goal


Thank You Kris for taking the time to participate in my blog interview and a Big Congratulations on your podium finish at the 2016 running of the Shamrock Marathon!   On March 20th 2016, under near nor-eastern conditions Kris ran a 2:54:10 and finished 3rd Female.

krislaw4(Closing out a great day at Shamrock, Kris Lawrence 3rd overall female)

To introduce Kris, when I first started blogging about my running adventures I came across Kris’s blog.  Kris being a local runner, a really fast runner and someone trying to qualify for the Olympics trails, I was hooked.  Not only is she a talented runner, but also someone balancing all of life’s real issues.  Kris has a military spouse, kids, a house and all the distractions we all have to deal with, but she still manages to focus on her training.  To me her blog and her running have been an inspiration.

Thank you Kris for taking time out of your busy life to be a guest on my blog.

One thing that really captures my attention is your quest to run a Olympic Qualifying Time for the marathon. I’ve never known anyone personally with an Olympic sized goal…I must say I was impressed!

When did you realize you had the talent to aim so high? And when did this become an official goal of yours?

Kris – About 7 years ago I lived in the Seattle suburbs and started jogging to take off some extra baby weight. I entered a small 5K and surprisingly did well. There I met a local coach who told me I could try to qualify for the Marathon Trials. I had no idea what he was talking about so I went home and googled. I thought he was crazy! Here I am years later, still chasing that crazy dream. I missed the 2016 Trials by a little over two minutes. Who knows, maybe I’ll try for 2020.

Through your blog I know you have had to deal with some pretty serious injuries over the last few years can you give my readers an idea of the battles and how you stayed focused on your goals through all of this.

Kris – Honestly I was very lucky in that I did not suffer any injuries other than minor tweaks for the first four years of my competitive running life. Then I believe I started reaching the miles a little too high and did not pay enough attention to the little things, like core and stretching. I suffered two stress fractures and a torn calf muscle, one right after another. It was incredibly disheartening. Every time I would make progress it was one step forward, two steps back. A few times I wondered if it was all even worth it. I truly love this sport but not at the risk of my health and so I made changes. I switched training programs, lowered my mileage, and starting working on strength and physical therapies, like dry needling, to keep my body healthy and strong. It’s important to stay proactive in our sport.

What does a typical training week look like for you?

Kris – My training week has evolved over the years, meaning I think I’ve run every type of training schedule there is at least once. Currently I run 6 days a week all in single runs (running only once a day). Monday, Wednesday, and Sundays are my easy paced mileage days. The distance varies but I rarely wear a watch and love to listen to music on these days. Tuesday and Thursdays are speed or tempo days. I will usually wear a gps watch and never listen to music. I need to focus on the pace and staying relaxed with good form. Saturdays are my long runs. I try to run these with friends starting the pace at an easy feel and ending at close to marathon race pace for a few miles, practicing race day nutrition as well. After every run I stretch and have some form of recovery food or drink. Three days a week I add in a strength session that I do on my own in the privacy of my home. I set my timer for 40 minutes and go through various strength exercises. I also do 10 minutes of core almost daily.

What is the best advice you have received about running and life?  What advice would you offer someone looking at getting into shape for the first time or someone setting an Olympic size goal?

Kris – The best piece of advice I’ve gotten is to “love the run”. It seems so simple but you’ll never make progress without enjoying what you are doing. We get so much more out of this sport when we are happy, grateful, and appreciating the moment. We don’t “have” to run, we get too. We don’t “have” to race 26.2 miles, we have the opportunity too. Just like in life, attitude is everything and will determine your success.

I loved the Shamrock Marathon photo you posted on Facebook, where you said all you could think about was not falling down.

krislaw1

When not racing, but out on a long run, what do you think about?

Kris – Everything! While I’m racing I purposely do not let my mind wander, choosing to focus on every step and mile, but on long runs; anything goes. I think about my next race, foods I want to cook the following week, plans with friends later, etc. I’ve also imagined myself winning the Boston Marathon about 10,000 times.

Your family, Husband and kids…do they have a knack for running?

Kris – My husband has beaten me in the marathon! During college my husband, a group of our friends, and I decided on a whim to run the Marine Corps Marathon. We were poorly trained and had NO idea what we were doing. We all wore cotton t­shirts and our longest run was only ten miles. Needless to say it was a painful experience. My husband and I ran together for 26.1 miles before sprinting to the finish line to beat each other and later after viewing our online results, we learned he officially beat me by .1 seconds. He won’t ever let me live it down! My daughter completed a season of Girls on the Run. Joining her for her 5K race was one of my proudest moments. My sons love to run 1 mile races occasionally but mostly love to join me on their bikes while I run. We have great conversations that way.

What has been your favorite place to run/race, it’s okay to have two favorite places…or more.

Kris – I could probably name 100 places but I’ll stick to First State Landing Park. I could run in there for hours and have done so many times.

Who are your running heroes?

Kris – Another question that I could give a dozen answers so I’ll keep the list to one. My high school running coach, Dave Symonds, who instilled the love of Boston into my life and PRed every marathon he ever ran.

A lot has been in the sporting news about doping in our sport…your thoughts? Being an upper crust runner, are you subject to testing?

Kris – I think its wonderful that so many elites are vocal about doping and testing. I agree with those outspoken elites, like Alysia Montano, that hope for lifetime bans and wish more races would not allow prize money to athletes who have tested positive for illegal substances even after serving their suspensions. Personally I have had to sign forms allowing myself to be tested at the Boston and Chicago Marathon but because I never placed high enough, was never tested.

You may not know, I once failed a drug test, but it was not for performance enhancing drugs it’s because my level of Oreos was too high.  Ha ha ha little junk food humor there.

Kris – Ha!!

What is your favorite pre-race meal….and post-race “I can eat anything I want, victory meal?”

Kris – Pre-race I always have some soft pretzels and Gatorade. If it is a marathon day then I’ll also include Hammer Perpetuem. Oh and coffee…tons of coffee! Post­race I LOVE a Coke and Large Hamburger.

krislaw3(Running with the pack)

Would you rather win Boston, the Olympics or set a world record in Berlin?

Kris – Boston because I want to wear that gold crown everywhere.

Prior to most long runs or races, to get motivated,  I enjoy sitting in my car and listening to music, the adrenaline pumping kind of loud music.

How to you get pumped, jazzed or up for a race.

Kris – Youtube! Before the Shamrock Marathon I sat in my hotel room alone watching a youtube video of Amy Cragg (Hastings) racing her debut marathon and the post race interview. She said she was suffering so much she focused on making it every quarter mile. I remembered that at mile 23 when I started to hurt.

And finally….from the serious of a 3rd place overall female at Shamrock to this important question…

What’s your favorite color and why?

Kris - Gold. Color of my wedding band and first place!

Kris, again thank you very much…I’m a big fan and will continue to follow your adventures!

I’d like to thank you for supporting your military spouse and the sacrifices your family makes to protect this great nation. God bless you! Maybe we will get to meet one day. I’ve seen you at races but been to star struck to step up and say hi….(silly I know, but local elites are a big deal to me.)

Kris - I would LOVE to meet someday. Anytime you are up for an easy run at the park, let me know. Thank you so much for including me, it was an honor! – Kris Lawrence

Kris…run fast we hope to see you in the 2020 Olympic Trails!


Marathon Racing and Running – Hitting The Wall


A target race for more than four months was finally at hand.  I had focused on this race in hopes of running my second sub four marathon. I understood that less than 25% of all marathon runners run a sub four race and I wanted to get to that hallowed ground again.  Arriving at the race site, the day and my outlook was bright. The thought of another four hour finished shined bright in my mind like a Las Vegas neon sign.

subfoursign

This race contrary to some marathons I’ve run where Mother Nature pitted herself against me started off with near perfect conditions.  I met up with the four hour pacers and from the opening gun fell right in line. Right from the start my pace and spirits were spot on. The early sections of a marathon may not win you the race but you can lose it there. Passing the midway point and getting to the double digits, my goal like the powerful search lights from a lighthouse was showing me the way.

tobaccoroadgroup

Miles 15 and 16 clicked off with nearly a negative thought. At this point in the day I believed my goal was achievable and my fitness was unquestioned. I truly believed the prize was all but in my hand as the spring sun began to rise high in the sky. My leg turnover was quick and light as the miles passed. Compared to the other runners, a few had dropped and some were struggling with their breathing, my effort was easy and up to this point un-labored. Although the temperature had begun to rise my skin felt cool with the slight breeze passing over my arms. My only concern was getting to the turn for home at the 20 mile marker. My strategy for the race was to cruise with the pace group until the 20th mile then I would intensify the pace and go for a PR. When I looked around at the collection of folks whom I had been running with all day I thought to myself I must have been the strongest runner of the pack.

The distance to the mileage marker and the turnaround point began to feel long and in the span of a single stride my legs felt heavy.  Mentally I questioned if the previous mile marker had somehow been marked incorrectly or worse did they forget to put out the 20th mile marker. Stubbornly I refused to even acknowledge a kink in my race day armor. I reasoned it must have been an error by the race organizer. At this time I also noticed I had fallen a few strides off the pace group I had so loyally followed for the preceding three hours. With a little extra push forward I was able to keep up with the pace group. With each successive stride I began to acknowledge that the heaviness in my legs was just a sign of things to come. The ray of success which shined so brightly all day now grew a bit faded, a bit distant and worse a bit dark.

Over a slight hill on the course the 20 mile marker finally made an appearance. As welcome as that sign was it also marked doom for my marathon goals.

Somewhere between mile 20 and 21 my leg turn over could no longer keep me in contact with the group. My mind was willing but my body just could not produce the needed motion in a rapid enough fashion to keep up. Mentally I held on and although trailing about 25 to 30 seconds somehow I made the 21st mile in respectable time.  Dumping some cold water on my head and taking a refreshing drink, I believed I could continue the fight and gain from a second wind which surly was right around the corner. Returning to as near a race pace as I could, the heavy sensation in my legs bore a sinking feeling that I was no longer up on my stride. Where miles before each stride climaxed in a push off which propelled me forward now my stride had fallen off into a shuffle which continue forward motion but at a much reduced momentum. As I reached the white banner with “22” emblazoned on it my will broke. Gasping for breath I held internal court, “I’ll walk a few extra yards past the aid station” I thought darkly to myself. “This may aid in my second wind,” I further reasoned.

Running again I made the 23rd mile under power but losing the battle slowly. I walked a bit farther again past the aid station. A rock which I had picked up around mile 13 finally had to be dealt with. Its effects had caused me to alter my stride and the resulting foot pain sent me to a bench along the course. Bending over to remove the rock the labor was unpleasant, getting back up and moving again was crushing. Back on my feet again I tried to run but a cramping sensation in my left hamstring had another idea. I was forced to walk some more. This time I walked against my will. Upset and angry I power walked 50 yards then forced my body to run again. I made the 24rd mile as darkness set in on my running spirit. My energy levels were collapsing, my spirit was fighting but my running life was growing dim and murky.

2016 tobacco road marathon11

The push for home covered some rolling hills, the only hilly part on an otherwise flat and fast course. At this point in the day I had no fight left, I made the best pace I could up the hills and ran although at a reduced rate the flats and downhills. I made mile 25 and gave it everything I had. I would like to say I ran that 1.2 miles but it was much more of a jog, slog, and a shuffle. At this point my day reached its darkest hue. I saw my wife as I headed for the final .2 miles home. Seeing her was great but the words I had mentioned to her earlier in the day came back to haunt me in the most disappointing way.

“If I don’t see you again in under four hours, something has gone terribly wrong.”

I noticed the clock at the finish line just 25 yards in front of me 4:14:00…something had gone wrong. For whatever reason my light went out.  Did I not train hard enough?  Did I do something wrong in preparation or did the sinus infection from two days prior set me up for failure?

2016tobaccoroadresults

Whatever the cause something went wrong and I hit the wall hard.


Running – When Did You First Feel Like a Runner?


We have all seen the motivational posters proclaiming that no matter how far you go or how fast you run, you’re still a runner.

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They say this sentiment is true.  I’m not saying it’s not and I would never tell another soul they were not a runner, but for me and my running journey that statement was incomplete.

When I first started running, I did not feel like a runner.  I did not see myself as a runner.  I felt like an out of shape, overweight, middle aged guy who had lost touch with his fitness.  Strapping on my running shoes, for the first time in years, I couldn’t wait to get the miles minutes that I had to run over with.  “Are we there yet?” I felt very awkward in my skin and my gait.  What should have been natural seemed abnormal to me.  While running along the open roads I felt strange, foreign and I was sure everyone who saw me knew I was trying to do something which I was not very good at.  I longed to be a runner, and maybe I was because I was running but I did not feel like it.

Then along the way something happened.

I first felt like a runner when I noticed I looked forward to my running days.  I missed my run when it was a recovery day.  I found I was disappointed when the run was over.  I felt like a runner when I had enough confidence in my stride and in myself that I ran outside with pride.  I identified as a runner when the distance in my training plan no longer intimidated me, it may have been a new pace or a new long run distance but I knew I could handle it.  I was aware  I was a runner when I felt at home with “my people” when standing at the starting line of a local race.  I had become the runner I wanted to be when I saw myself in the mirror and saw a runner looking back at me.

Being a runner is not tied to distance, speed, weight, ability, fancy clothes, shoes or running gadgets.

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You ARE a runner if you have the desire…

For some of us that transformation did not take place on the first day of our running life.  For some of us we had to grow into our runner self.

When did you first feel like a runner?


Running and Fitness – The Treadmill Should Not Be Boring


Four Treadmill (TM) Workouts designed to not bore your mind but explode your lungs and legs.

Disclaimer: Seek medical advice if you have any conditions that concern you or could keep you from working out or running.  I’m not a coach, I’m have not studied the physical sciences of the body.  I am also not an elite athlete.   I’m simply a guy who has been running for the better part of 16 years.  I’ve gone from dying at 5ks to running and completing 100 mile races.  I’m by no means an expert, I only offer these workouts to help you have a little fun on the treadmill.  They work for me.

The TM just like the shoes you run in and the GPS you use to track your workouts has its place and time in any runners routine.  A winter storm, travels for work or pleasure or to counter the hustle and bustle of a fast moving life.  All of these are good reasons to choose the TM as an tool to get your miles in and improve your performance.  As I see it the challenge with the TM is centered on how to pound out the miles without boring your senses into never-neverland, all the while challenging your legs, lungs and heart.

IMG_7766(During a recent vacation, on a cruise ship
I was forced to the treadmill)

To help fight off the boredom & challenge yourself on the speeding runway here are a few of my favorite treadmill workout games.  All of these workouts are based on a five mile distance.

1). TURN and BURN:  Using the five mile workout as a frame of reference I start this workout at a nice and easy pace to get warmed up and reach my normal 10k run pace.  This pace would be a 10k pace that I know I can run at about 80% effort.  As I approach the one mile mark.  At the one mile mark the real workout begins.  With each successive half mile I bump up the pace roughly 10 to 15 seconds faster per mile, depending on the pace calibrations of the TM.

By the end of this workout my legs are on fire and my footfall is normally two minutes faster then my goal race pace.  Using a 9 minute per mile pace as a frame of reference, not a recommendation, the workout breakdown looks something like this:

Mile 1 – 1.5 9:00 minutes per mile, Mile 1.5 – 2 8:50 mpm, Mile 2 – 2.5 8:40 mpm, Mile 2.5 – 3 8:30 mpm, Mile 3 – 3.5 8:15 mpm, Mile 3.5 – 4 8:00 mpm, Mile 4 – 4.5 7:50 mpm, Mile 4.5 – 4.75 7:40 mpm, Mile 4.75 – 5 7:30 mpm, with a cool down period no less than half of a mile.

Of course adjust your speeds to meet your goal race pace and desired improvements along the way.

2). Hill Climbers:  This workout is pretty much the same as Turn & Burn except instead of turning up the TM speed I adjust the elevation.  After the warm up mile I adjust the speed to approx 75 – 80% of my race 10k speed.  For the sake of this post I’ll call that speed approximately 8:00 mpm.  At each successive half mile I’ll bump up the elevation .5% from the 1% baseline I started the workout with.

The goal of this workout is to maintain the same pace as I climb up my imaginary “heartbreak hill.”  The workout breakdown would looks something like this:

Mile 1 – 1.5 1% incline, Mile 1.5 – 2 1.5% incline, Mile 2 – 2.5 2% incline, Mile 2.5 – 3 2.5% incline, Mile 3 – 3.5 3% incline, Mile 3.5 – 4 3.5% incline, Mile 4 – 4.5 4% incline, Mile 4.5 – 4.75 4.5% incline, Mile 4.75 – 5 Finish at 5% or greater.  At the conclusion run/walk a a cool down period no less than half of a mile with an elevation of 1% or less.

Of course adjust your elevation profiles to meet your goals and desired improvements along the way.

Cosmic_Treadmill_001(Even the Flash used a Treadmill…Bazinga)

3).  Race Your Neighbor:  The majority of times when I’m forced to the TM I share this time with other walkers, some slower runners, and sometimes a worthy opponent.  Not that I’m a speed demon but when I’m putting in the miles next to a fellow runner I can get a bit competitive.  Yes I know this is vain and a bit petty but its also fun.  During this competitive workout I try and match my neighbors speed and improve on that.  This little unseen competition helps pass the time and on the occasion when my little game catches the attention of the other TM runner it has made for some interesting stationary duels.  As always work in a cool down segment after your victory.

4).  PR Racing Game:  This workout can be run as a “one off” workout or as part of your progressive speed sessions.  The goal of this workout is for you to train at your max 5k race pace or die trying.  Okay you’re not really going to die, nor do I want you too but you might feel like it.  The punchline of this workout is that if you fail to keep up the pace, if you have to slow down the belt speed for fear of flying off the back, the game is over…aka your speed session is done.

Start this workout  with an easy one mile warm up to get your legs awake and alive.  As you approach the end of this first mile ramp up the belt speed to your present 5k PR pace minus 15 seconds per mile.  For the purpose of this post let’s assume a 7:00 minute per mile pace is your race PR.

The goal is to increase the TM speed to reach your race pace at the one mile mark and then turn up the TM speed 15 seconds per mile faster to begin the “5k time trail” portion of the workout.  For the purpose of this post that would be 6:45 pace.  Run the next 5k at this pace for as long as you can or until you reach the 5k mark, a total of 4.1 miles from the beginning of the workout. If you can’t keep up with the pace and have to slow down the time trail is over. Before slowing down the belt, note the distance that you were able to keep up the race pace.  This is the goal you want to beat next time.  Finish the remainder of the 5k at whatever pace you can.

During your next PR session start the time trail portion at the race pace you previously failed at and again try to complete the entire 5k at this pace.  If your able to run the full 5k at the goal max effort pace then this is a successful session.  Your next time trail will be run at a new 5k max effort pace, roughly 10 seconds per mile faster.

The ultimate goal is to stretch our race pace with each success 5k or with a session that falls short, to motivate and challenge yourself for the next go around.

2013 Bald tutu runner1(My time on a treadmill for charity)

Some runners love the TM, some put up with it and others would like to see it dropped off the edge of a bottomless exercise equipment pit.  Although, most recognize the value of it in a training routine.  With some creative approaches, with some training routines and with some simple games you may find your time on the “dreadmill” might just become a bit more bearable.  When available time, the weather or your travel schedule forces you on to the rotating roadway try to turn and burn, climb a hill, race your neighbor, and or work on your 5k race pace as a way to improve your fitness and pass the time.

Do you love or hate the TM?

What TM training games do you play to make the time and miles fly bye?

 

 


Tobacco Road Marathon – Running My 16th Marathon


The Tobacco Road Marathon would be my 16th marathon quickly becoming one of my favorites, and one I will run again.

10321080_983339838416228_7490669052342066804_o(Giving back to the community)

Packet Pick Up.  Simple and to the point…at some of the big city marathons the race expo up-stages the race.  I’ve logged nearly as many miles trying to get thu one big city marathon as I did running the race and left feeling beat up.  NOT with Tobacco Road I left this expo with my needed items and ready for the following race day.  The expo features plenty of vendors to meet your needs but not so many as to overwhelm you.

tobacco road expo(I had plans to ring this bell…)

Race Day Parking:  I dropped the ball here for a nominal fee I could have purchased an on site parking pass, but someone I forgot too.  Even with that snafu, the organizer had easy to access and safe “runner drop off zones” where us runners could be dropped off near race start.  There was also shuttle service from off site parking.

10152033_983240515092827_6366091155667292216_n(This line up looked wonderful on morning racer)

Starting Line and Runners Village:  The most important thing on race morning is the potta-pottie line.  This was the first race where I thought, “hey, they have enough johns for the crowd.”  Yes there were lines but they moved fast, I set a new PR in my line with less than a 10 minute wait.  Even made a few new friends….  Try that at NYC, MCM, or Chicago!

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The starting line was one of the best looking of the 15 marathons I have run, a large USA flag was the backdrop and it sent chills up my spine during the singing of the national anthem.

Race Support: Awesome….  I could use a bunch of flowery words but it is simple enough to say that at each aide station everyone’s mission was to get the runners what they needed and back out on the course.  THANK YOU for all the support.

1917540_983781461705399_5010220224490467433_n(We love our pacers…)

Pacers:  I’ve run with pacers before…and a few have let me down. I’ve seen it all at other races, from going out to fast to one pair simply giving up their role mid race.  But the 4 hour pacers were Rock Stars….keeping the pack behind them right on target. Unfortunately I fell off the back at mile 18/19 when the effects of a sinus infection, the day before race day, caught up with me.  BUT my hats off the Mario and Lugi!  I heard nothing but good words from all pace groups.

AND yes…this course is a PR marker….flat and fast!

pr bell(I’ll ring that bell….next year)

And the bling…one picture says it all

9579_1188130221198132_5921408321690242568_n(Someone claimed my race medal as her own….)

The experience as a whole…..top notch!  I did not get the race day results I wanted but that had nothing to do with the race.  I will be back next year and hope to ring the PR bell at the finish. My full race report will be posted soon.

Thank you, Tobacco Road for a great race.

 

 


Running A 12 Hour Treadmill World Record – Ultra Marathon – Guinness Book of Records


Thank You Suzi for taking the time to participate in my blog interview and big congratulations on your 12 Hour Women’s Treadmill WORLD RECORD!  The previous record was 68.5 miles.  On March 4th 2016, Suzi crushed it when she ran 73.3 miles in 12 hours to set a new women’s world record.

12801155_1315766745104017_2110405858823584609_n(Suzi S. running to set a new world record)

To be honest I just happened to stumble on to your world record attempt while browsing pages on Facebook, could you provide my readers some background on your running resume.

Thank you very much. It was a very special day and was only possible because I had so many people supporting me and encouraging me, including Three Rivers Running Company, Summit City Bicycles and Fitness, my running teammates, friends and most importantly my awesome husband and children.

I don’t have the most impressive running resume. I truly feel I underachieved in my younger years due to circumstances in life. However, I began running at the age of 8 or 9 with my dad who was an avid runner.  I was very successful during middle school cross-country and track, not losing a race my entire 8th grade year. Then high school came and although I was all-conference my Freshman year, I began to lose the focus I needed and my competitiveness- due to suffering from depression and anxiety and experiencing some difficult life events. I ran one season at Ball State University, but transferred out and felt I lost my love for running.

I eventually got my life together by turning to my faith and working through my personal issues. I then used running as a source of healing in my life. I ran my first marathon at the age of 19 – 3:45 at the San Francisco Marathon. I ran two more marathons before settling down and starting a family. I then put all my energy into my role as a wife and mother and running was just something I did on the side to stay healthy. However, in 2004 I learned that my older brother was running his first marathon. This ignited a desire to start taking it seriously again so I started running with my brother on the weekends. Then I started running marathons again. One day I was introduced to this strange thing called ultramarathon running. I thought it sounded really dangerous, but decided to give the trail running a try. I was immediately addicted and signed up for my first 50K. Then another, then a 50 miler, then a 100 miler. My PR for the 100-mile distance is 20:08 at Run Woodstock which was a course record. My 50-mile PR is 7:28 at Tunnel Hill. And my PR for the 50K is 4:25 at the HUFF.

12814779_10208646532621273_2961110163872292132_n(LOVE the motivational posts…you can do this!)

I was happy to see you thanked God after breaking your record First and foremost, this accomplishment was only possible with the grace of God and the gifts he has given me.- Suzi”

Would you share a little about your faith?

God is my strength and my purpose. I have not always had the strongest faith in Him. Actually, I am still trying to grow in this area. We all go through trials in our lives that test us. I lived with a lot of anger for many years and only learned to let go when I found Him. I give credit to my husband for helping lead me to Jesus Christ. He took me to his church and helped me get involved with some retreats and activities there. I pray frequently while I run. I am by no means perfect or even close to perfect! But I strive to live my life through Him and for Him.

Thank you so much, now we’ll dive into the nuts and bolts of setting that awesome world record.

Q).  What prompted you to go after the World Record?  Was this a long term goal, or something that popped up?

This specific goal popped up about a year ago. I had dreams as a child of breaking a world record or being a professional athlete, but I lost my self-confidence during those difficult years in my life and let go of all those dreams. A little over a year ago I was talking to some running friends about a guy who broke some treadmill world record. Out of curiosity I looked up all the treadmill world records and saw the female 12-hour record was around 60 miles. There was also an unofficial record of around 66 miles. I thought to myself, wow, I think I can do that. For fun I filled out the Guinness application for attempting the record. A few weeks later it came back approved. However, I decided to run some other races and this got put on the back burner. Then a month ago, a lady named Susie Chan from England broke the record by running 68.54 miles. Hearing her story re-motivated me to look into the possibility of attempting it. I brought the idea up to Three Rivers Running Company (I am a member of their ultramarathon running team) and the idea just took off from there.

Q).  I’m totally unfamiliar with the Guinness book of records procedures, what goes into making sure your efforts and in this case success is recognized by Guinness Book?

They have numerous guidelines. I had to have a certified (calibrated) treadmill. I needed two independent witnesses at all times, but none could work longer than 4 hours. I had to have at least two video cameras. Every second of my attempt had to be filmed. There needed to be at least two clocks. And the witnesses had to log my exact mileage every hour. I was allowed to get off the treadmill any time I wanted but the time continues. I was not allowed to step off of the treadmill until it came to a complete stop. I also was not allowed to grab or lean on any part of the treadmill. I could only touch it to change the speed.

Q).  During most Ultra-marathons there comes a low point in the race, maybe a point where you doubt success, did you have one of those low points during your attempt?  At what point was that and how did you battle through?

The only low point I had occurred early on, maybe 20 miles in, when I started having stomach cramping and subsequently took 4 bathroom breaks in less than three hours. I obsessed over how much time I was losing with these breaks and worried that it would continue and I wouldn’t reach my goal. Luckily I was well ahead of my scheduled pace. I struggled with nausea off and on the entire last 40 miles and it was very difficult to eat. I have this issue in every ultra. My teammates were there pushing me to eat and they would all cheer for me every time I took a bite of something. After mile 40, I was very confident that I was going to make my goal of at least 70 miles and I began to relax. However, over the 12 hours I took a total of 8 or 9 bathroom breaks!

I noticed one of the posts on your Facebook timeline stated that at 4.5 hours into your run you had 30 miles on the books……that was a great start for a long day.

Q).  What pace strategy did you use to maximize your endurance?

I planned out several different pace strategies, all which would get me to my goal. This would give me the opportunity to switch things up based on how I was feeling or if I just needed a change. I started out by running at a decent pace for 25 minutes (between 7.3 and 7.5 mph) then going down to 6.0mph for 5 minutes to break it up and focus on drinking and taking in nutrition. Then 25 minutes at the faster pace followed by 5 minutes walking. I did this for a couple hours. After I began having stomach issues and feeling nauseous I decided to switch to a walk every time on the 25:5 run-walk ratio. I kept this up for the rest of the time and ended up keeping pretty steady at 6.8mph for the run until the last couple hours when I went down to 6.4mph. This is the most walking I’ve done in an ultra the past several years. I think mentally I needed that to break up the monotony of the treadmill.

The longest I have ever run on a treadmill was while stationed at Thule Greenland, it was during the dark season (no daylight from Nov, to Mar) and I was training for my first marathon.  I ran 21 miles.  To keep myself entertained I watched the majority of the Tom Hanks movie Castaway…twice.

12798878_10208646531941256_5161491946803736842_n(Marking off the miles)

Q).  What did you do to keep yourself entertained for 12 hours?

I planned on watching Netflix movies and running documentaries but we had issues getting my Roku hooked up to the tv. It turned out there was so much activity in the room that I really didn’t have time to watch movies. I was interviewed by several journalists and local television stations in the morning. Then my friends were coming in and out all day so I was talking to them whenever I could. My ultra racing teammates were absolutely the best at trying to entertain me and pass the time. One brought in some hoola hoops and they started having contests that were quite hilarious. My youngest child was also keeping me going the last hour or so with his cheering and silly questions like “Mom, are you tired?” Surprisingly, the time passed pretty quickly.

Q).  So what’s next?

I am registered for Thunder Rock 100 in May. I am looking forward to a much more challenging 100 miler than I have run before. Flat treadmill running will not help me in this race!

Q).  Do you plan to go after any other World Records?

I haven’t really thought about that, but my 16-year-old son was looking up treadmill records and saw the 7 day record and suggested I go for it. The only problem is finding a whole week that I could take off to do this… and the logistics of finding all the witnesses would be a nightmare.

From the seriousness of a world record to some light subjects.

12795466_10209029921767990_7816261997358807282_n(Smiling and running, running and smiling repeat for 12 hours!)

Prior to most long runs or races, to get motivated,  I enjoy sitting in my car and listening to music, the adrenaline pumping kind of loud music.

Q).  How do you get motivated for your races/record attempts.

I like my music like you. I also enjoy reading race reports and watching running documentaries, especially Ginger Runner!

Q)..What is your favorite food/meal after a race or a really long run?

Chocolate chip pancakes and/or a veggie omelet. I’m a big breakfast person.

Q).  What does a normal training week look like for you?

I am coached by the awesome Michele Yates. I focus on speed work and hill work a few times per week with a long run on the weekends. I do strength training three days per week as well. I take one day off about every 2 or 3 weeks. I probably average about 70-80 miles per week.

Q).  I see you’re a big Peyton Manning fan, what do you think of his retirement?

I have been inspired by #18 ever since he came to Indianapolis 18 years ago. I admire him for his work ethic and dedication to preparation, his giving back to the community, and his humility. I cried through his retirement speech! I am sad this chapter has come to an end but I know it was time. He timed it perfectly just as he timed his passes to perfection. (My next goal life will be to meet him in person).

I have found with my running that it allows me to help others go after an active lifestyle, and maybe inspire someone who does not believe in themselves.

success(Success, a world record)

Q).  What advice do you have for someone who was inspired by your world record and has decided to give this running thing a try?

Just yesterday I was checking out at the grocery store and the cashier said, “Aren’t you that lady who broke the world record on the treadmill?” We talked a little and she said, “I could never run even a mile.” I told her I believed she could and explained how to start off with mostly walking and building up to running for a minute, and increasing from there. She seemed to have a light in her eyes and told me she was so inspired and was going to go home after work and walk at least a mile. This made my day. I love being able to inspire others. My advice is to take small steps and remember that although it will be very hard in the beginning it will be worth the effort when you become a healthier and happier person. Set a goal and make it fun by finding friends to run with or join a local beginners running group.

Suzi, again thank you very much…I’m a big fan and will continue to follow your adventures!

You are very welcome. And I’d like to thank you for your military service. God bless you! Maybe I’ll meet you in person on the trails one day.