Liza Howard. Ultrarunning Mom.

Ultrarunning Mom

Coaching, Umstead, and Stuff

Hi folks.  Eliot, Asa, and Ruby are out in the garage working on some sort of wooden box for Asa’s Pokemon cards (How is Pokemon still a thing?), and I’m browning sausages — for a Sunday pasta dinner.  Yes, it’s Monday, but Sunday was a bit rough, and we ended out with Mexican take-out — so the traditional meal — with actual green vegetables — will be tonight.


Ruby slept five for five hours in a row last night and I woke up feeling like I was superwoman. Or a manic depressive in a manic phase…  It was a great way to start my coffee taper for the 100 this weekend.  I’m drinking just enough coffee to keep the DTs away.

You know when I got a degree in history and then a masters in education — and then the BSN in nursing – and the paramedic certification (#ilikeschool #flighty)… and then taught for NOLS and WMI , I never imagined I’d be coaching ultramarathoners.  Not for a moment.  And I certainly never  saw how these relationships would inform my thoughts and shape my days.  It’s been a great big blessing.   And the whole out-of-left-field nature of it makes me wonder what the rest of this decade will bring.  “You know, looking back, I never saw myself as a professional jai alai player…”  “Yeah, who would have guessed back then, that Olympic Synchronized Swimming was next for me?”    “Liza Howard: America’s Hot Dog Queen Looks Back.”

Anyhoo.  Umstead 100.  I will be running eight 12.5 mile loops the day after tomorrow.  I have three hours of music loaded on my ipod shuffle, so I figure by the time I hear the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ “Cornbread and Butterbeans” for the eighth time, I should be crossing the finish line.  Muppets’ “Moving Right Along?”  Moby’s “Run On?”  Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer?”  I’ll let you know which one does it.  I really don’t have much of a sense for how I’ll run out there.  I’ve done some good fast training.  And I’ve done a few good long runs.  But I haven’t done anything fast and long together.  So we’ll see how that goes.  I’d say I’ve trained about 70% as much as I need to for this — but 100% as much as I reasonably could and not have Eliot trade me in for a better wife or CPS come and collect the kids.  I feel at peace with my lack of perfect training heading into this.  Anybody can run 100 miles if they’re perfectly trained.  Where’s the adventure in that?  And I’m really excited to be running this particular race.  I’ve heard great things about the North Carolina ultra community.  And my friend Alison Bryant is going to be crewing me.

Screen shot 2014-04-03 at 11.23.19 AM

Anyway, I’d best get the breast pump packed and the ipod shuffle charged now.  I’m thinking a pump break every other loop.  I’ll have to recon the discrete pumping locations at the spaghetti dinner on Friday.  I refuse to sit in the porta-potty again this race.  Refuse.

I wouldn’t have been able to do any of the training I have done without Eliot’s support and good humor.  Imperfect training, but dang near perfect husband.  (Eliot’s perfection score suffers from his inability to close cupboards.)

I also wouldn’t have been able to train/lost my mind without the help of Rachel who watched Ruby more times than I can count.  And Julie too.  You ladies are beyond wonderful.

And if I run any fast miles out there, it’s due to my running buddy and caffeine dealer, Stefan.

Okay, baby needs a new belt buckle!

Screen shot 2014-04-03 at 11.50.01 AM

5 thoughts on “Coaching, Umstead, and Stuff

  1. Olga King says:

    As far as YOUR training, this one seems to have been PERFECT! As your hubz and your friends:) You are going to LOVE Umstead park, NC peeps and you will run awesomely! As far as pump – I wouldn’t even bother to step away 5 feet. Don’t you follow all that “breastfeeding on public” movement? ESPECIALLY at a trail ultra! Man, we squat in a sheer view! Pump, baby!

    • Liza Howard says:

      Thanks Olga! And if it comes to a choice between the port-o-potty and sharing my impression of Bessie the Milk Cow… Moo.

  2. catherine silbiger says:

    Can’t wait to hear all about it! Thank you for being such an inspiration on so many levels!

    • Liza Howard says:

      Catherine, you would not use the word “inspiration” right now if you were here in San Antonio this morning. :) Thanks for the kind words. I fell asleep on a pile of work last night, which didn’t accomplish much, so I’ll have to wait until tonight to get blogging.

  3. […] Howard, her recent success at Umstead 100 came as a total surprise. She thought she’d aim for a time of around 18 to 20 hours, but ended up Howard’s […]

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