Playin’ Possum 50k Recap

Playin’ Possum 50k Race Recap

May 19, 2018

After months of running through some of the worst weather Ohio has seen, race day was upon us and I’ll be damned if the weather didn’t peak at about 80 degrees. OF COURSE!

This race has an 8 hour course limit, which for most runners is a very generous cut off because it is a mostly flat course. However, for those of us who are not so fast, they also offer what they call the “trekker” start, which is an hour earlier. I am not known for my punctuality, but I’m happy to report that I made it to the race site (the lovely Delaware State Park) with a few minutes to spare.  Of course, my typical pre-race dawdling at my car still had me jogging to the start line and fumbling with my watch, my pack, my water, and everything else I would “need” until we came back to the start/finish line again. I say “need” because the beginning of the race is 4 miles (8 total out and back) to the start/finish line and  you also hit up an aid station.

It’s a good thing that I did head back to my car though, because I was ready for a wardrobe change. I started off wearing the Ultimate Direction vest because I wanted to have more water and food with less stops. However, as I knew it would, the vest started rubbing my neck and I was instantly annoyed. Once I ditched the vest for the belt and handheld, I was a much happier camper!

My race strategy was as follows:

  • 4:2 intervals (run four minutes, walk two minutes, repeat ad nauseum)
  • Drink water and/or Nuun on walk breaks
  • Eat every thirty minutes plus what ever looked good at the aid station

I started off the race with my friend Don. We started getting separated on the portion of the course that goes along a dam at the state park, and by the time we got to the aid station, I asked him if it was ok for me to keep going ahead. He was having some allergy and breathing issues, not to mention the fact the he and his wife were expecting a new baby any minute! So a little over halfway finished and I took off on my own.

The portion of the dam that is a challenge for most didn’t feel all that hard to me. I actually “practiced” running the dam a few weeks before, doing 20 flat back and forth miles along that portion of the course. What I forgot about (or mentally blocked out) is the couple of miles from the Start/Finish to the damn portion of the park. It goes from trail to beach (which is mostly running through a parking lot), from beach to road, from road to trail, with a water crossing thrown in for good measure. It’s just a mentally challenging portion of the race for me. Candy got me through.

Back to the Start/Finish around mile 21, and that’s such a tough spot where you have run for so long, but you still have so far to go. I grabbed a few more snacks, and I really should have changed my socks and shoes at this point. More on that later (sadly). I also turned on episode of my favorite running podcast – BRF BARF. These two fabulous ladies are local ultra runners, and their podcast was back for season 2 after a months long hiatus. Their friendship, and their running experience, made for really great company on the run. I was starting to feel loopy.

It’s Beth! Yay!

The last 5 or 6 miles felt like a slog. It was hot, it had been a long ass day, and I was ready to get home and shower. One foot in front of another, with only one trip and near fall. Every time my “walk” beep went off, I was so happy, and every four minute run felt three minutes too long. The heat had started to get to me.

Getting it done.

Finish time: 8:20:13 (a 50k PR)

I don’t see myself doing a lot of ultra runs. I love running, I love running trails, but I also love taking my time and running happy. This race is one I want to keep coming back to. The race directors, the charity and the volunteers are all just such good people. The positive energy surrounding the day made for one happy possum. I felt like a million bucks. And now after a few weeks of rest, I’m ready to get back out there again.


Training Anxieties (four weeks to go!)

Believe it or not, there are only four weeks left until race day. I have been going back and forth between feeling really prepared for my race, and feeling undertrained. I don’t know why, but I’ve been struggling with motivation and pre-race anxiety. I skip runs, and then convince myself that *that run* is going to break my entire plan, even though it’s just two rest days, or just a little shorter than it needed to be.

This weekend, I ran 20 miles through a rather hilly park. I met up with some fellow runners, and got very anxious about being too slow. I ran too fast to start, I didn’t speak up when I needed to slow down, and I let my pace get in my head. I finished sore, tired and frustrated. That was *not* the run I needed. I did love that I got to fit in a charity based 15k in the middle of the day. It was a very organized and well run race with a nice course through the park – I just spent too much of the morning in my head!

hangryrace series starting line
Hangry 15k!

I woke up Sunday with every intention of running 10 road miles but when I got up to use the bathroom and had a hard time bending my knee, I immediately decided to go back to sleep and then felt guilty about it the rest of the day.

I don’t like training this way, and I don’t like feeling this way! I have been a little wishy-washy about my plan and my long run schedule. I started off using a marathon training plan but then I combined it with an ultra training plan and tried two long runs a weekend instead of my usual one. What have I learned over the course of this training? That I need recovery time after a long run.

Last week, I ran the Athens Half Marathon and had a really great day.

athens ohio starting line
Ready to Run – Athens Half 2018

I still feel like my 50k is looming out there and that I won’t be ready for it, but I know that I am in decent shape and if I pace myself well, I can make it to the finish line.


Food and Fitness Plan 4.02.18-4.08.18 + Week Ten of 50k Training!

April 2-April 8

Back in action after a couple of skipped weeks (I only posted once in March! Ooops). A quick recap over the past few weeks:

Ran the Seamus O’Possum 30k on March 17. It is just the right race – long enough to feel tough, short enough to still enjoy parts of it with friends! I ran with Beth the entire time and we had a blast making faces and just catching up all day. I finished in 4:08:47 and I am really happy with that time!

After the race, I left town for a national conference. This had been something looming over me for awhile as I was presenting with a friend from graduate school. It took up a lot of brain space, and ultimately it went well! It just took up so much of my time that I only got a few more runs in while I was out of town. The week after I got back, BF left for a work trip, so not a lot of running then either. Back on track with an 18 and a 10 mile run over the weekend.

Monday: Chicken Chile Verde with rice
Tuesday: Beet pasta with pest and mini mozzarella
Wednesday: Italian chicken and broccoli bowls
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Out of town (see below!)
Saturday: Out of town
Sunday: Out of town

Monday: DOR
Tuesday: DOR by accident (woke up to a panicky dog and thunderstorms – no running)
Wednesday: Shape Up + 4 miles @ gym
Thursday: 8 easy miles
Friday: Shape Up + 2 walking treadmill miles
Saturday: 8 + 12 w/Beth?
Sunday: TBD

This week is a big week! It’s time for the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Race!! My BRF (best running friend) is going to attempt the most ultra of ultras, and I am really happy to be attending as part of her crew. She has been training for so long, and is such a tough runner, and I am so excited to be there and support her steps to her goal. I will be running with her for her 6th lap, or Miles 62.5-75.

I am not going to be concentrating on my own running during the race, and I know it will be a challenge to be awake and up beat and on top of the ball, so that’s my only focus for the day.Q


Food and Fitness Plan 3.05.18-3.11.18-3.04.18 + Week Six of 50k Training!

March 5-11

Week six feels like a step back week even though it isn’t. I am taking it easy as I am starting some PT this week for a janky (technical term!) knee that I’m finally trying to figure out.

Monday: Cheeseburger soup and salad (WOW I wish I had cut the calories on this one. It was ok but needed something else. I already think I could have skipped the half and half, used low fat cheese, and added A LOT more salt to the recipe! Oh well, live and learn)
Tuesday: Whole wheat pasta with kale pesto and mini mozzarella
Wednesday: Homemade pizza with Feel Good Dough from our CSA! (If you live in Columbus, let me hit you up with a referral!)
Thursday: Bibimbap Bowls
Friday: TBD (going to see David Levithan!)
Saturday: TBD
Sunday: TBD

Monday: DOR
Tuesday: 6 miles after work
Wednesday: Shape Up + 3 miles @ gym
Thursday: 7 miles
Friday: Shape Up + 2 walking treadmill miles
Saturday: DOR – Work
Sunday: 9 group miles

I am about at the time where I am hitting a bit of a slump. In training, but also in life. Hoping to get some mojo back soon. I will be attending a professional conference in mid-March, and I’m really hoping this gives my career path a shot in the arm that I feel I desperately need. Usually, running helps me sort this stuff out, but right now that’s just not the case!


Food and Fitness Plan 2.26.18-3.04.18 + Week Five of 50k Training!

February 26-March 4

Annnnd just like that, it’s back up to 70 degrees this week. After an icy weekend, the weather has perked up a bit.

Monday: A Trader Joe’s Night: Multigrain Blend with Vegetables and Smoked Apple Chardonnay Sausages
Tuesday: Chickpeas and Pasta (just using spaghetti!)
Wednesday: Skinnytaste Egg Roll Bowls
Thursday: (I am attending a class for my leadership program- Chipotle for dinner this week!)
Friday: BF is getting adventurous – Guinness Beef Stew for a cocktail party!
Saturday: TBD
Sunday: TBD

Monday: DOR
Tuesday: 4 miles (have to be in a.m.)
Wednesday: Shape Up + 5 miles
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: Shape Up + 2 walking treadmill miles
Saturday: Week 5 Long Run – 11 trail miles
Sunday: 7 group miles

Got PT scheduled for early March. Have been feeling very run down the past few days, and this has been affecting my end of week/long runs. My goal this week is to just get something done every day as much as I can. I’m a little worried that I might have to go back to taking an iron supplement, which wrecks havoc on my GI system for awhile, but I have been SO sluggish and blah recently…

Hope this is a good week, friends!


Food and Fitness Plan 2.19.18-2.25.18 + Week Four of 50k Training!

February 19-February 25

Annnnd just like that, it’s back up to 70 degrees this week. After an icy weekend, the weather has perked up a bit.

Monday: Day Off! Chicken Chickpea Masala (yummmm)
Tuesday: Low Country Boil (very similar to the recipe here – SO tasty)
Wednesday: Steak Salad using the cold brew marinade
Thursday: Thai Turkey with Carrot Noodles
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: TBD
Sunday: TBD

Monday: DOR
Tuesday: 8 Miles + Hills
Wednesday: Shape Up + 5 miles speed work 3 miles speed work on TM
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: Shape Up + 2 walking treadmill miles
Saturday: Week 3 Long Run (9 trail miles)
Sunday: 7 miles with my training group depending on mood


I went to a sports medicine doctor today because my left knee has been bothering me with low grade pain for about 2 years. Without a definitive answer, it is officially “runners knee” and I am off to try some Phyiscal Therapy next week! I report back to the doc in 6 weeks to see what’s up.  Wish me luck!


Food and Fitness Plan 2.12.18-2.18.18 + Week Three of 50k Training!

February 12-February 18

Frozen footsteps on a cinder trail
Frozen trail

What a week to be an all weather runner.  When we say all weather, we mean all weather which includes rain on top of a few inches of ice. I ran a 10k at the Rocks and Roots trail series on Sunday, then got my long run in this Monday over this treacherous terrain. No falls, but a lot of tension just trying to stay upright.

The weather has improved, so here’s hoping the week will look a little brighter!

Monday: Valentine’s Day Surf & Turf
Tuesday: TBD – Volunteering at a local food pantry where dinner is provided
Wednesday: Three bean chili (cutting recipe in half and not using turkey)
Thursday: Honey mustard chicken and sauteed collard greens
Friday: Out
Saturday: TBD
Sunday: Hot Honey Shrimp (never got around to this one last week and we still have all the ingredients! Recipe to follow (NYT Food is behind a paywall but did you know you may have access through your local library?!)

Monday: Week 2 Long Run (10 trail miles – on ice)
Tuesday: Rest Day
Wednesday: Shape Up + 4 miles speed work on TM
Thursday: 5 miles – hills in my neighborhood
Friday: Shape Up + 2 walking treadmill miles
Saturday: Week 3 Long Run (12 trail miles)
Sunday: 5-8 miles with my training group depending on mood

Recipe – Hot Honey Shrimp

1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 garlic clove,  finely minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound cleaned extra-large shrimp, patted very dry with paper towels
1 tablespoon very cold butter, cubed
Lime wedges, for serving
1 jalapeño, halved, seeded and very thinly sliced, for serving
1 tablespoon chives or scallion greens, finely chopped, for serving
Mayonnaise, for serving (optional)

1. Heat oven to 500 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, combine honey, cayenne, lime zest, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss in shrimp to coat.

3. Spread shrimp on a large rimmed baking sheet and dot with butter. Roast until shrimp is pink and opaque, but before the edges have started to curl, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle generously with fresh lime juice and toss with jalapeños and chives or scallions. Serve with mayonnaise if you like.

Yield: 2 servings