Liza Howard

Liza Howard

Liza Howard is a national champion runner with multiple records in distances ranging from marathons to 100 mile trail races.

April 2014
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In which I try to ruin Hal’s race, PR, and set a new CR at the Umstead 100

LizaLiza

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Well, let’s just get this out of the way right off the bat.  I ran the first loop of the eight-loop Umstead course with Hal Koerner.  This was very fun, and also smacked of being crazy, since I’d only run one 60-miler since the baby was born (yes, that was the nap attack 100k) and a 40-miler on the treadmill, during which I took every possible opportunity to stop and do other things – like tidy the garage. But I figured “What the heck?” the pace feels comfortable, and how many times will I have the opportunity to run with Hal Koerner and pick his brain about ultrarunning?  (Not many since I live in San Antonio, Texas.)

So things were going swimmingly and I was just beginning to think about the best excuse to slow down after the first loop.  “Well, I’d love to keep running at this superfast pace with you, but I guess I’d better stop to use the  breast pump….”  “Breast pump” is never questioned as an excuse.  Sadly, I never had to lie because as we came to the turn to the start/finish, I got confused and convinced myself AND Hal that we needed to keep going straight.  The course was well-marked, and the whole thing was a total fail on my part.  The extra mileage itself wasn’t too grim – just a mile and a quarter or so, (Maybe more, I was too busy being mortified and  apologizing profusely.)  But while it’s one thing to screw up your own race, screwing up a someone else’s race – especially if they’re going after the course record – is quite another thing.  Siiiiiiiigh.  Anyway, Hal was totally gracious and kind about the whole thing – and didn’t beam me with a water bottle or anything.  It was impressive to see how fast he was running out there until a 13-hour ski-mo race the previous weekend took its toll.  Shall I tell you how I came into the 6.85-mile aid station asking for electrolytes because my legs were cramping (Yes, I know! Professor Noakes, but it made them go away…), and the aid station didn’t have any, but they said, “But Hal does.”  and I turned around confused, and saw him sitting there – done with his CR attempt – gamely holding his electrolytes out to share?  Dang.

OK, now that that confession is out of the way, you should know what a wonderful job the RDs, Blake Norwood and Rhonda Hampton, and their volunteers do at Umstead.  Blake and Rhonda told us that their goal is to take good care of every runner.  And they do.  The course is well-marked, the aid stations are well-stocked (snow cones!!), and the aid station crews are knowledgeable.  They made me a breakfast taco after I finished the race for gosh sakes.  I described it and they kindly soothed my Texas appetite.  I must have looked a bit frightful after the race because I was quickly led over to a cot by a fire and ministered to with the greatest care.

And I couldn’t have run the race I did without Alison Bryant’s crewing.  She is the very best.  Similarly, Matt Hart’s coaching was invaluable.

And Eliot.  Well, we already talked about his near perfection.

Anyway, here is a Cliff Notes version of the race with some splits.  I’ll write more tomorrow.  I have to brave the shower before I fall asleep.  Chaffing and soap… 🙁

Loop 1: Fun.  Then mortification. Split: (With the extra 1.25-ish+ miles): 1:44

Loop 2: Hot, but fun.  “Oh my gosh those are real hills!”  “Wish I’d had time for any hill training…” Split: 1:36

Loop 3: Stop for pumping.  “I can’t believe I have to run six more loops….  I  feel like crap.” “Good grief! the hills…” Split: 1:53

Loop 4:  Food can make you feel better.  Split: 1:44

Loops 5 & 6:  Bleh.  “There are other things I’d like to be doing right now instead of running.”  Splits: 1:55 (with pumping stop), and 1:58

Loop 7:  “I might cry on that 2ish mile slight uphill to the turn to the start/finish.” Split: 2:05 (with pumping stop)

Loop 8:  “Keep it together.”  “Keep on running.”  “Stop walking!”  “No really, stop walking!”  Split: 2:09

Total: 15:07

 

Wonderful gear from sponsors who stuck with me during my pregnancy and had faith that I’d get back to being useful to them:

New Balance: Shoes 1400v2, Super excellent shorts with compression tights built in, Sports Bra

Socks: Drymax

Handheld: UltrAspire 8oz  

Nutrition: Tailwind (and random gels)

Comments 24
  • Joshua Finger
    Posted on

    Joshua Finger Joshua Finger

    Reply Author

    fantastic and impressive. i might need to start breast pumping, if i want to run faster:) or maybe i shouldnt stand there and chat with you for 5 min at rocky next time! Great job!


    • Liza Howard
      Posted on

      Liza Howard Liza Howard

      Reply Author

      Thanks so much! It actually was kind of nice to have an excuse to sit down for a few minutes every other loop. Gotta contact the pump people about sponsorship… 😉


  • catherine silbiger
    Posted on

    catherine silbiger catherine silbiger

    Reply Author

    Love that photo of you! Thank you for being so amazing and humble all at the same time!


    • Liza Howard
      Posted on

      Liza Howard Liza Howard

      Reply Author

      I need to post a picture of me and the big box of Cheez-Its, but I managed to snarf that down without any witnesses in the airport. 😉


  • Brenda Bland
    Posted on

    Brenda Bland Brenda Bland

    Reply Author

    Congrats on the CR and PR! That has to feel great after your recent sort of hiatus (birthing). I’m not sure if giving birth is a hiatus, but it did make you even faster. Nice job Girl!


    • Liza Howard
      Posted on

      Liza Howard Liza Howard

      Reply Author

      Thanks Brenda! I have a funny story about getting faster after pregnancy that I’ll write as soon as I crawl out from under a pile of work today. 🙂


  • Lincoln
    Posted on

    Lincoln Lincoln

    Reply Author

    Just proving your awesomeness once again. 🙂 Yep, I’m in awe. Really.


    • Liza Howard
      Posted on

      Liza Howard Liza Howard

      Reply Author

      Thanks for the kind words. I hope our paths cross before too long for a run!


  • Candice Burt
    Posted on

    Candice Burt Candice Burt

    Reply Author

    Congrats Liza!! Awesome report, awesome race. Can’t wait to see how the rest of 2014 plays out for you.


    • Liza Howard
      Posted on

      Liza Howard Liza Howard

      Reply Author

      Thanks so much Candice! This blog has been wonderful for all the people I get to “meet” — and it’s forced me to think in full sentences during the day — which I might do otherwise with little kids. Same about your 2014!


  • Brett
    Posted on

    Brett Brett

    Reply Author

    Sub 15 hour 100 mile pace (since you ran about 101.5) 🙂


    • Liza Howard
      Posted on

      Liza Howard Liza Howard

      Reply Author

      One does not want to squeak by with an American record… Another day. That thought might keep me away from the donuts this morning… 😉


  • Alison
    Posted on

    Alison Alison

    Reply Author

    Being there for the race this weekend was one of the most fun things ever! I am so glad I was there to witness it. And it was great to get to visit a bit too!


  • Greg Vick
    Posted on

    Greg Vick Greg Vick

    Reply Author

    I just want to say that I really enjoyed your podcast on the Ultra Runner podcast. To say that what you did at Olmsted was AMAZING!! You stopped to pump!!! How awesome is that!! I also really loved that your Dr told you no power walking … So you ran. LOL I lost it …

    I also like the fact that you are a member of Team RWB (I’m also a member … not only as retired Navy veteran, but a disabled vet as well). So I really appreciate what you do for us Veterans. Personally speaking, when I was in the Navy I was a member of a group, and we looked out for each other. The Running Community, and in particular the Ultra Running Community, is that as well … We are all members of the same group, and we look out for each other. Anyway …

    I was supposed to run the Olmsted 100 race myself, but four weeks before the race I had to pull out and have surgery for a torn tendon in my left foot. Needless to say, I’m on the sidelines for the next 26 weeks. I will complete my goal of running in a 100 … It might not be until 2016, but I will do it. I’m going to use the last half of this year (August through December), and all of 2015 to rebuild my base, and to build back up to that distance. I’m going to start with a half in December … Then hopefully a marathon distance in April 2015 … Then 50K in June … Then probably a 50 mile in November/December time frame.

    I hope to see you out there sporting the eagle!! #TeamRWB


    • Liza Howard
      Posted on

      Liza Howard Liza Howard

      Reply Author

      Greg, I’m so sorry I’m just now responding to your comment. And I’m so sorry about your torn tendon! 26 weeks is a long time. Do-able, but no fun at all. What’s the half you’re thinking about doing in December?


      • Greg Vick
        Posted on

        Greg Vick Greg Vick

        Reply Author

        I’m going to do the Space Coast Half. The Dr is telling me that full recovery is a year.


        • Liza Howard
          Posted on

          Liza Howard Liza Howard

          Reply Author

          That looks like a fun one. Can you cycle or swim while you’re not running?


          • Greg Vick
            Posted on

            Greg Vick Greg Vick

            Author

            Not yet. I’m hoping to be able to use my elliptigo here in a few weeks. I’ll probably use it on the trainer for safety reasons initially.


          • Liza Howard
            Posted on

            Liza Howard Liza Howard

            Author

            Excellent. I’ll send fast-healing tendon thoughts your way.


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