Category Archives: Training to run

Female WINNER of the Hillbilly Half, Her Story

And our first place female runner, from Franklin, Tennessee, 15 years old, with a time of 1:37….Kathryne Hirt!! The announcer said. I couldn’t help thinking, how on earth did I get here?

 The summer before seventh grade, I made the decision to start running. I got up every morning and ran 1.5 miles. When I began, I could barely even make it to the corner of my street without stopping, and I really hated it. But I was determined. And when I’m determined, there’s so stopping me. Little did I know that in just a couple of years that I would run to relax.
Fast forward to freshman year of high school. I decided to run cross country instead of playing volleyball. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I could make! The team was more than a team, it was a family. The coaches were very nice and encouraging, but between you and me, could have done some more actual coaching. I made so much progress as a runner, falling more and more in love with running,  every day. By the end of the season, my 5K race time was about 21 minutes. Even thought the season was over, I ran every day, and not just a little bit. I was running 7 miles a day, and boy did I pay for that. I ended up with a stress fracture in my hip, which took two months to heal. Any runner knows that not running for two months is torturous, and it was hard.
I signed up for my first half marathon, THIS June, with my sister, and part of me thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. But, my hip healed in perfect timing. I had a couple weeks to get back into shape, and then my training officially started. I used the Hal Higdon Intermediate 2 plan. To be completely honest, most of the time I didn’t follow the plan. I almost always ran more than I needed to. And rest days? I hardly took them, unless the weather was too bad. I made sure to cross train, running 3.5 miles and doing a 30-40 minute ab workout on the same day. I also made sure that all of my runs included hills, which was not hard to do, living in Middle Tennessee.
My favorite part of training was the long runs. As an endurance athlete, I live for and love running long. The farther I ran, the happier and better I felt. As my runs progressed into the 9 mile and above range, I started to experiment with fueling. I tried raisins (not the best for me since they took more work for my body to digest) and GU energy gels. At first, I was hesitant to put something artificial into my body, but I soon realized that they were the best for me. And the flavors covered every base! Fruit-y, chocolate-y, coffee-y, and even maple bacon! These long runs did mean, however, that my training was coming to an end. And training coming to an end meant one very exciting thing: THE HALF MARATHON!!!!!
This brings us to June 3rd, 2017. My half marathon of choice was the Hillbilly Half. It would begin at 6:30a, which meant I had to wake up a little after 5:00a. I had learned from my training runs that I did not need much for breakfast, so I had Greek yogurt and mixed some Honey Bunches of Oats into it about an hour before running. I made sure to pack extra clothes and shoes, as well as my water bottle and energy gel. I was so excited, and a little bit nervous. So as every runner does, I made a last minute trip to the (disgusting, smelly, gross, etc) port-a-potty before the race began.
All my training was leading up to this moment. And with a ‘bang!’ it began. I weaved between people, moving around them left and right, for quite a few miles. After a while I found my pace, and maintained the same speed. Sticking true to its name, the course was constantly going up and down. It seemed like as soon as we ran down hill, there was another hill waiting for us. I ran by myself for most of the race.
About 3/4 of the way through, I ran alongside a guy going about my pace. We didn’t say anything to one another, but both of us knew we were using each other as a pacer. When we hit another hill, I took the lead. For the last 5K, I sped up. As I hit the last couple water stations and “hecklers” (volunteers dressed up as hillbillies to encourage and to entertain runners), the volunteers were cheering me on loudly, screaming “you go girl!” It made me wonder, was I the first female? And I was! As I rounded the corner to cross the finish line, I saw my mom screaming for me, and the men at the finish pulling the banner across for me to run through it. After I crossed, I got my medal and, best of all, my fresh Georgia peach from the amazing Peach Truck.
After the race, I snacked on some fruit, waiting for the awards to begin. It felt like forever.  When my category was announced, I was ecstatic to have won my very first half marathon at age 15. For the rest of the day, I was on a high, smiling whenever I thought about that morning.
Right now, I’m training for my second cross country season. My goal is to qualify for the state meet this year. Looking ahead, I want to run in college, but have no idea where yet. I love running, and cannot wait to see where it takes me!

My Mountain Life

Have you ever had one of those weeks? days? You know what mean. Life, circumstance, people take you by surprise and not in a good way. Things compound and they well up and drip out. The heartache, the brokenness the sadness drips out, like a leaky facet from my eyes.

I do go to the mountains that I have close. I go there and dream of the mountains that I want in my future. Dream of what it is going to take to get there. I remember where I have been. . . the mountains. . . I long, hunger to go back. The places that I know I am capable of going. The places that I know I get to work hard to go.

It is a longing that alludes to hope. A pure place. A wild place. An untouched place. A dark place. A quiet place. A lonely place. A drastic place. A high place. A heavenly place. . . to me. I got a taste of the depth, the struggle, the beauty and I want to go back.

It was in a (mountain) place where the beauty of friendship, fellowship, community played out. . . for me. It was a piece of heaven on earth. I am looking ahead to 2017. . . I am anxiously looking for struggle, courage, pain, depth and fire, commitment and community.

2017 targets:

  1. Cascade Crest or Kodiak 100
  2. “Running to the Roar” more, in fear and with faith
  3. Coaching women to achieve their dreams and goals, no matter how impossibly big or simply small.

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”
 Jim Afremow,  The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive

“The very traits that step us toward certain life situations are the very same traits that those situations encourage, reinforce, and amplify”

-Angela Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

“Being willing to be uncomfortable is essential for building toughness; it’s a characteristic that will pay dividends when honed to its fullest potential.”

-Jason Koop with Jim Rutberg, Training Essentials for Ultra Running: How to Train Smarter, Race Faster, and Maximize Your Ultra Marathon Performance.




Pine to Palm Training (August)

I want to get more comfortable being uncomfortable. I want to get more confident being uncertain. I don’t want to shrink back just because something isn’t easy. I want to push back, and make more room in the area between I can’t and I can.

Kristin Armstrong

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

Ernest Hemingway

Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s fine. It’s not their journey to make sense of. It’s yours.

Zero Dean

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When (not IF) you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when (not IF) you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When (not IF) you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God. . . since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you.

Isaiah 43: 1-4 (The Message)

August: 325 miles. 56,867′ of climbing and downhill.

  • week 1: 102.5 miles. 13,870′
  • week 2: 54.33 miles. 12,572′
  • week 3: 93 miles. 17,874′
  • week 4: 51.59 miles. 8,300′
  • week 5: 24.25 miles. 4,281′

Training Notes:

  • This month was mostly trail. My goal this month was to hit two BIG mileage weeks. I hit 102.5 and 93! VERY happy. I do deviate from my plan, from time to time. The 102 mile week was more tiring than my 93 mile week. My 93 mile week had more climbing by approximately 4,000′ than the 102 mile week. My 93 mile week was my highest climbing week at 17,874′.
  • My original training plan called for 934 miles in 17 weeks
  • I deviated a bit on the plan and ended with 1091 miles in 17 weeks
  • Weeks 10-15 in my original plan were scheduled as: 64, 70, 54, 70, 49 & 70 in miles.
  • I changed weeks 10-15 to: 71, 82, 65, 102, 54 & 93 in miles.
  • I’ll follow the same taper as the original plan.
  • Going into this race healthy at the line!!


New this month: I finished with my trainer early in the month. I spent the last 3 1/2 weeks of August, focusing only on running. Still doing the 3 P’s (pull ups, push ups, planks). I really miss the gym. I love lifting weights!

Looking ahead: Pine 2 Palm, N E X T week!

Dear Oregon, 

You did not disappoint in April. Looking forward to seeing you again! Good bye, temporarily, to humidity. Hello to tall trees, BIG climbs, BIG vistas, Sunrise, Sunset, Sunrise. 

Longingly. . . 

Loving now:

  • Lululemon, Speed Track Short, 6″ inseam. LOVE, LOVE them. In fact, I wore them every running day for 5 days. (washed them between runs) Usually, I am hesitant to buy tight shorts with an inseam shorter than 9″. These are awesome. Two great side pockets, a tiny pocket within the side pocket for your key or key fob. They are on sale right now in store for $44.00.
  • Dry max socks!! These are thick and comfy. I bought the max cushioned pair, $25.00.


Imagine that day, where you can finally say, “I did it!” When you can say, “I never gave up, I never quit!” Imagine that day when you win that gold medal, or cross the finish line. Where these moments of pain turn into memories for that goal you wanted to obtain. It might take long to reach that moment, but as soon as you get there you’ll thank yourself for the rest of your life.





An effective mantra should focus on what you want to feel, not on what you’re trying to overcome…

It should also be short, positive, instructive, and full of action words.

-Ashley Jones, “The Power of a Great Running Mantra”

I just finished my last long run before my race. It is time to taper. It is time to work on visualization. It is time to practice mantras. It is time to be grateful for how many miles I have ran, and to look ahead with joy and anticipation for the miles yet to come!

You can search the Internet for running mantas. There are many. I was running last week and thinking ahead to my race. I was thinking back to the process of my training. You can choose a mantra from the list of those you read. But. . . sometimes. . . your mantra finds you.

I am strong

I am beautiful

I am deserving

I am in (the finisher’s shoot)

I shortened it to, Strong. Beautiful. Deserving. In. Here is why each word is significant to me.

Strong. Muscles, endurance. sweat. focus. consistent. Hard work. Athletic. Competitive. Tenacious. Capable.

Beautiful. To me there is something beautiful about a woman giving all she has. . . her heart, being vulnerable to the outcome, not being afraid to believe it’s possible. Sweat. tears. hard work. no guarantees. Athlete.

Deserving. Worthy. valuable. allow yourself to reach for it. Letting go of what you think you need. No fear of being happy, really happy. Letting go. Pressing in.

In. Done. finished. it’s over. It will stop. Letting go. Accomplishment. Completion.

In all these things, I am the daughter of the king. That is enough. 

I am a daughter of a King

who is not moved by the world.

For my God is with me

And goes before me.

I do not fear because I am his.




P2P training: My 102 Mile Week

“Many people stop short of their destiny. They settle for someone else’s story. . they never sing the song God wrote for their voices. They never cross the finish line with heavenward-stretched arms and declare, ‘I was made to do this!’ ”

-Max Lucado, “Glory Days”

Focus on today. God meets daily needs daily. Not weekly or annually. He will give you what you need when it is needed.

-Max Lucado, Fearless

My husband started a new job and had to leave at 7:15 every morning. My kids were not in school yet and I will not leave them alone, while I run on the trail.  I had 74 miles on my schedule. I was overwhelmed. 

I called Teresa on Sunday night. . . 

“How am I going to get my miles in this week? I am overwhelmed.”

. . . she showed me how it could be done. It helps to talk to someone when moments of your training seem impossible. To talk to someone when your training is at “critical mass”. 🙂 She showed me 10, 5, 6, 4, 25 & 25. After we talked, I decided to go a bit farther. My schedule had  me 10, 5, 6, 4, & 50, in miles.  I did not have the time to run a 50.  So I’d run 2, 25’s, instead. 

I decided this would be a GREAT race simulation week. I would run 2x a day if I needed to in order to get in my miles. I would run before Byron left for work and after. I would wake up extra early to start. I would be tired. I would come home and eat. I would go out again after I ate. Here is how my week turned out!!

  • Monday: 12.2 miles. 3.6 miles.
  • Tuesday: Hiked 2 miles on the treadmill at 18%. Ran 6 miles. Hiked 2.25 miles on the treadmill at 15%. Ran 4 miles.
  • Wednesday: Ran 10.2 miles. Ran 12 miles.
  • Thursday: Hiked 3 miles on the treadmill at 18%. Ran 5.5 miles. Ran 12.75 miles.
  • Friday: Ran 7.3 miles. Ran 3.75 miles
  • Saturday: Ran 12.68 miles. Ran 4.75 miles

102 miles


  1. It’s a lot of running
  2. Eat enough to fuel this endeavor and be diligent about recovery!
  3. The body is able. The mind needs to know it’s able.
  4. Focus on the day, hour, moment you’re in.
  5. It CAN be done, in the midst of what life looks like as a mom of 3.
  6. Two-a-days
  7. Nutrition and rest the week after is just as important if not MORE important than the 100-mile week itself. Just because volume is down the week after, DO NOT cut back calories. It takes a lot to rebuild and restore.


Pine to Palm Training (July)

Ascend it. Stare long and longingly at the Bonfire, The Holy One, the Highest One, the Only One. As you do, all your fears, save the fear of Christ himself, will melt like ice cubes on a summer sidewalk. You will agree with David: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”

When Christ is great our fears are not. A package-able, portable Jesus might fit well in a purse or on a shelf, but he does nothing to our fears.

-Max Lucado, Fearless

When I look back at my training plan and the notes that I have kept to date, it never seems like too much or too hard or not enough or too easy. Looking forward always seems hard in the moment. It is the unknown. Sure, I have it planned. What am I afraid of?

July: 315 miles. 60,971′ of climbing and downhill.

  • week 1: 31 miles. 5575′
  • week 2: 66.2 miles. 11,709′
  • week 3: 71.4 miles. 15,795′
  • week 4: 82 miles. 16, 937′
  • week 5: 65 miles. 10,955′

5/6 days on the trail this month. In addition, I spent 2-3 days after my run on the treadmill at 18% for about 2 miles at a time.

New this month: Back with my trainer, after a month of working on core, outside of the gym. I love the stuff he is giving me to do. The best part, to me, is that I do not have to keep track. I do not know the weights that he is putting on the bar. I do not know what I did last week compared to next, etc. It makes it easy to get in there and just work hard, without having to keep up with all those details. I go twice a week,  and it is keeping me fit to run hard. Sure, there are tears, but that’s okay.

fav exercises: renegade rows, squats

least fav: anything with those TRX bands

Looking ahead: Oh August. You seem so busy already. I want to solidify this place I’m at in my training, but I do not see enough time in my week (s). I think this month will fly by. I need this for August. . .

Focus on today. God meets daily needs daily. Not weekly or annually. He will give you what you need when it is needed.

-Max Lucado, Fearless

Loving now: 

Square Bar in chocolate coated almond spice and in cocoa cherry. They have the consistency of a peppermint patty. The are GF, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Organic and Vegan. About 210 calories a square. Check them out.

GU (new formula) Chocolate smoothie recovery drink mix. 180 calories. 20% protein. It has a great flavor, and it is not gritty. Chocolate milk is def easy to find and cheaper than this. My go to for my runners is def chocolate milk. It is interesting to look at a side by side comparison of low fat chocolate milk and GU Choc smoothie recovery. Both are almost identical in calories, sodium, carbs, sugars, whey, leucine. Milk has 30% calcium. GU Choc smoothie has 6% calcium. The GU is convenient because you mix it with water and shake in a water bottle. Choc milk is convenient because it is everywhere. I can make a case for both.

Luna Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Chunk bars. They are GF. They have 180 calories, 5 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein. They are easy chew and eat. They have the consistency of a soft rice crispy bar. They are not too sweet. I can eat more than one on a training run and not grow tired of the taste.

Compression shorts in this hot, humid weather. Def does not feel as gross. They do not drip.

Changing clothes after mile 20 of a L O N G training run. It helps me to hit restart and finish the miles I have may have left.

Imagine that day, where you can finally say, “I did it!” When you can say, “I never gave up, I never quit!” Imagine that day when you win that gold medal, or cross the finish line. Where these moments of pain turn into memories for that goal you wanted to obtain. It might take long to reach that moment, but as soon as you get there you’ll thank yourself for the rest of your life.




Hill Work: P2P

Be the coach who loves hills.-Randy Accetta, RRCA & Run Tuscon

Hills. We love them. We hate them. They make us strong. They make us weak. Today, I choose to embrace the hills. -Hal Higdon

Be a hill seeker. Most of us try to avoid hills but what is so good about flat? Think about it,  flat tires, flat hair, flat returns–and the ultimate–flatlining. LIFE happens on the hills. They’re opportunities to prove to yourself that you are stronger than you ever imagined.

Many people shy away from hills. They make it easy on themselves, but that limits their improvement. The more you repeat something, the stronger you get.
-Joe Catalano, running coach

Hills never get easier, you get stronger.
-Greg LaMond, 3-time Tour de France winner

When you first get a hill in sight, look at the top of it only once. Then imagine yourself at the bottom of the other side. – Florence Griffith Joyner, three-time Olympic gold medalist in track

If my husband did not have a strong opinion against tattoos and if these quotes were not so long, I may have one or two tattooed on my skin. I have always loved to train on the hills. I have become quietly confident on the hills. I am not a hill sprinter. I power hike hills as needed and I run them at a comfortable pace.

Training to run 100 miles is a lot of running. Training to run 100 miles with approximately 19K feet of vert,  (for me) means a great deal of hill running, hill hiking, treadmill hiking. . . repeating. . . repeatedly.

Here is a glimpse of my hill training from last week. Lately, I have been starting at a trail head that allows a lot of hill running/repeating variety! Here are 3 workouts I penned and will use again.

These workouts are specific to my TN locals. I am not focusing on speed when I climb. So, I have not listed pace. You could power walk these. You could run 2 climbs and walk the rest. You could run the first and the last and walk the climbs in-between. It is about variety, getting in the climbs via walking or running, depending on the day and how I feel.

Chickering One: (most technical of the three)

  • Park at the Chickering trail head.
  • Run on the road from my car (straight at the 4-way intersection) to the hill at the red trail, .40 miles (the road divides the red trail. One hill climb to the right. One hill climb to the left.)
  • Repeat the hill to the left .35 times up/.35 times down, 7 x .70 = 4.9 miles
  • (next to the hill on the left is a jeep road) Run the jeep road to the port a potty and back, .50 miles
  • Repeat the jeep road, except run past the port a potty to the first pic nic shelter on the right and back, .85 miles/1 mile 
  • Start back to my car on the road. Instead of going straight, to the lot, I turn right at the 4-way intersection.  This will send me in the direction of a golf course/clubhouse. This is all road and all hill. 1.5 miles out and 1.5 miles back. 3.0 miles
  • Treadmill: 15% for 2 miles
  • Stats: 10 miles on trail/road 2300′ + 2 miles on the treadmill @ 15% incline 1500′
  • 12 miles, 3800′

Chickering Two: (moderately technical)

  • Park at the Chickering trail head
  • Run the road from my car (straight at the 4-way intersection) to the hill on the red trail, .40 miles
  • Repeat the hill climb to the right of the road, .40 times up/.40 times down, 6 x .80 = 4.8 miles
  • Run across the road toward the jeep road and and pick up the red trail. Stay on the trail for 1.4 miles to the candy cane connector, turn left on the connector to the nature center for 1.0 miles. I run this as fast as I can.  No stopping. 2.4 miles
  • After a water stop at the Nature Center, I run back exactly the way I came via candy cane connector to right on red. This is a cool down pace. I do not walk, but I def slow down. 2.4 miles
  • Run across the road and repeat the hill I started on,  once. .80 miles
  • Run back to car, straight through the 4-way intersection. .40 miles
  • Stats: 11.2 miles trail 2195′

11.2 miles, 2195′

Chickering Three: (easiest, most road, least climbing)

  • Park at the Chickering trail head
  • Run from my car, left at the 4-way intersection, toward the golf course/club house. I run 1.66 miles from my car and 1.5 miles back to the stop sign. 3.16 miles
  • Left at the 4-way intersection run on the road to the red trail. Take the hill to the right .40 up/.40 down x 3 x .80 = 2.4 miles
  • Run up the same hill and continue on the trail until I reach the road (the road you cross for the last steep climb up and then down toward the Deep Wells trail head.) 1 mile
  • I turn around at the road and repeat the short, rocky hill 4 times. .80 miles
  • Head back to the trail head, where I started. 1 mile
  • Run on the road, back toward my car. At the 4-way intersection, turn right and repeat the 3 miles out and back on the road, toward the golf course/club house that I ran at the beginning on the road. 3 miles
  • Run back to my car, .16 miles

12.0 miles, 1535′