Birthday Wonderings

So, I am sitting in the cafe section of a building on campus waiting for my next class and eating a grapefruit. As people walk in, eyeing the weird girl with juice all over her laptop, I am deeply absorbed in my own thoughts. Today is my 21st birthday. It is finally here, the big 21.

Now, I am not a big “write your goals down on your mirror” or one to stick (or make) New Year’s Resolutions, but over the past week, I have made some changes to my life that I want to maintain for the next couple of years. As I look back over the last year, or even the last week, I realized that I have found myself happier than I usually am. Now, dont think I am the Grinch before dancing/singing found me, but I am not one to always have the beaming smile on my face, especially when my dad east my Kashi cereal. Though I still have some things to figure out, and many more goals to check off my list, I think I am finally becoming the person I am supposed to be. Not too bad for a college junior eh?

  • FOOD: As you all know, if you have read my last posts, I have been playing around a lot with my nutrition. Two years ago I became a vegetarian, mostly because I didn’t eat much meat in the first place, my mom is a veg., and I wanted to cut something out of my diet that I thought was unhealthy (yet I still ate ice cream every week?). Over the summer, obsessed that dairy was the devil, I went vegan (food only-no way was I getting rid of L.L Bean boots!). While in Africa, I basically starved trying to make veganism work, while coming across the 80-10-10 diet-or the raw food diet. Ya. That lasted the rest of summer, doing well until dinner, or until we went out for lunch/dinner or ordered pizza. I did well i think, eliminating the bags of mm’s I usually have duck taped to my person and the daily bowl of moose tracks ice cream, but I wasn’t happy with my food anymore. I was dreading eating! Especially after long runs when I usually look forward to huge egg omelets or pancakes. And, the main thing I was so sick of the hassle! Can i eat this? Does the restaurant have this without dairy? etc, etc. Me, the relaxed, easy-going one of the family was the high maintenance one! So, from all this I have decided to give it all up. I am  no longer sticking to a diet, or not eating a bag of MM’s when I’m in the mood. I have incorporated some fish back into meals, but have not decided 100% on how much or what other kind of meats I want-basically I am just going to go by ear, or stomach. I am still a huge health nut, drinking my protein shakes and not eating processed food-but the food nazi is out the door and the happy, now I can have a cookie girl is back in!
Sweet potato with coconut sugar!

Sweet potato with coconut sugar!

My lunch after my run yesterday. A little messy omelet on an english muffin and a chocolate covered oreo- b-day present from my mom!

My lunch after my run yesterday. A little messy omelet on an english muffin and a chocolate covered oreo- b-day present from my mom!

  • RUNNING: This is the best part. I am addicted to running and not afraid to say it! It used to be, I got up and sometimes did not feel like running, even if I already had a rest day earlier in the week. Now, I look froward to every run, and have a blast each time. I have been running with my friends more, training a girl through her first marathon, and joined the IU Run CLub. I think this has really helped, yet I am still getting to used to the running in the evening thing, I prefer morning runs. From my last post, my mom and I competed in our first ultra-marathon, the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler in Wisconsin. You can go back and reda my race recap, but because I had so much fun and had some umph left in me, I have decided to train and run the Indiana Trail 50 and 100 miler next April. I am also pacing a friend who will be running a 150 mile race also in April, (hopefully my finals will be easy that semester)! I am entering the world of ultra-running, excited and ready to go. I listen to Trail and Runner Nation podcasts on my way to class and just bought my first running skirt for my long runs in the trails! Or for my Chicago Marathon debut :). Running has become a part of me, something that makes me happy, fit, healthy, energetic, and most importantly has made the relationship with my mother even stronger than it is has ever been.
New Shoes for the Chicago Marathon! Switched over to New Balance for road and trail now.

New Shoes for the Chicago Marathon! Switched over to New Balance for road and trail now.

  • SCHOOL: Though my school work and jobs takes up most of my free time, I am paper-boy1really enjoying everything I am involved in. Classes are going well, though I enjoy my English classes a lot more than my journalism classes, why not we get to read and talk about literature all day! I am working as the IDS Carrier, or paper girl as I like to call myself, every morning for about 2 hours. I get up up at 4:45 a.m and is done by 7:15. Though it is getting chilly outside, I do like the job a lot, being a good way to get money, and not take up much of my day. I just turn the radio up and let my mind wander as I count and throw papers. I am also working as a mentor through the  school, which takes up a lot of time, but is a great opportunity to develop good leadership skills, etc. It is still pretty early, so I dont think I have made much of an influence on my mentees yet! The only thing still weighing on my thoughts is what to do after graduation. Law school, grad school, or move out west and hope for a job on a magazine. Anyone know if Trail Runner is hiring??
  • STRENGTH TRAINING: Sine I have been running so much, I felt like it was time to start incorporating some cross training into my routine. So far, I have made it to the gym twice last week and three times this week, yay! I have set up a routine-that I mostly sticking to. After work, which ends by 7/7:15, I drive over Tuesday-Thursday. I am trying to focus on arms, back, abs, and hips, and some legs. And of course, because of my obnoxious, competitive attitude that I think is getting worse, I have incorporated protein shakes, a log of my weights, and have been reading up on weightlifting blogs. I am not saying I want to be some intense woman weightlifter, and I have no desire to do Crossfit, but getting a more muscled, lean body is another goal I hope to accomplish by age 22.
  • Here is a link to a trainer, Lindsay Cappotelli. I have been following her blog for a while and love seeing her progress!

So there are probably more things to add, and more rambling to do, but I am ready to get started on these “resolutions” for the upcoming year. I am looking forward to the next stage of my life fitter, happier, and with a nice beer by my side.


Contest the Vest Post!

It’s a mother, daughter thing!

When I think about my trail running experiences, I forget about the cute New Balance shoes, the unmentionable places I have scars from rubbing Gu packages, and the gallon of blood lost to rocks, roots, and lovely blisters. Instead I think of my training partner: the person who introduced me to running and the one I can count on to push me when needed. She is the person who is on the trail along side of me on every run: my mother, Brenda Campbell. My mom is forty-six years old, has been a runner all my life, has run over 15 marathons and has just completed her first ultra-marathon. Without her, my love of running and introduction into ultra-running would never have happened.

I evolved into the runner I am because of her encouragement, through each new “longest” distance, and running me into the finish of my first marathon. She is there every morning sharing the pre-run peanut butter and is there next to me on the couch during our 10th viewing of Unbreakable.

My love of ultra-running surfaced through blogs, books, and fellow ultra-runners. When my mom decided to look into running her first ultra, we dove, or rather plunged into the world of Ultimate Direction vests, hydration packs, and Trail Runner Nation podcasts. We watched Anton Krupicka run through the High Country and followed devotedly to the IRunFar Twitter feed. Thanks to, we were introduced to the elite runners’ race reports, learning about S! Caps, and the importance of a good headlamp.

As my mom’s ultra, the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile race in Wisconsin was three weeks away, my duty as pacer changed to participant. We ran every step together, discussing which of her pre-school students are her favorite this year at mile 15 and cursing the hills at mile 40. Though she twisted her knee and was reduced to a walk/run the last 3 miles, I met each step right along side her, supporting her to the end. During that race, our roles changed; I was the one guiding her, pushing when she wanted to stop, just like she was there two years ago pushing me during my first 8 mile run. I would never been a runner or an ultra-runner without her, and I cannot wait to continue onto the next trail with her by my side.

My mom and I after our first 50 mile ultra-marathon.

My mom and I after our first 50 mile ultra-marathon.

Us on our  longest consecutive training runs.

Us on our longest consecutive training runs.


North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile race recap!

I just ran the NFEC 50 mile race up in Wisconsin this past Saturday and I have three words: I LOVED IT!

Because I am writing this in between classes, I am going to break it up into sections:


High points/low points:

  • loved the miles 11.5 to 18. It was a grassy, beautiful prairie. I was running behind a woman named Kelly (who ended up getting 4th woman overall) and was chatting with her, with my mom right behind me. We were flying through there, at a 9 something pace, but we were all feeling so good that we didnt feel like slowing down!
  • The 14 mile there and back stretch from mile 21 to 35 was the most difficult. This was where our lack of hill training came into effect. It was 7 miles of rolling up, down, up, down, kill me now hills! But we made it through, slowly but surely.
  • I enjoyed running in the dark, first time doing that in a race and only second time overall. No one with me fell and it went on smoothy.
  • I loved the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! I am a peanut butter fanatic but usually just before or after a run. Almost every aid station I ate a bite of the cut up sandwiches and i never had any stomach issues the entire time.
  • That said (above bullet) i think I over did the food ( if that is possible)? I never felt bad stomach wise, but I think I ate too much, usually eating pb and j and a gu.
  • The nice, lonnngg sand trails at the end. I live and train on the beach now, you would think I would get used to trudging through sand? nope!
  • I switched shoes after 35 miles into a little thicker trail shoes but not too much. I could have had a little more cushion but it was a nice change from my New Balance minimalist ones. And no blisters from the race!
Mile 40-getting tired!

Mile 40-getting tired!

Thoughts of/during the race

  • Never did I think I want to be done, get me the hell out of here. I enjoyed the race basically the whole way, with a few negative thoughts during the hilly sections.
  • As you know, since I wrote a pre-race post, I ran the race with my mom. Our goal was to run between 10-11 hours and we finished in 9 hours and 19 mins. And that was walking alot the 3 miles due to my mom’s twisted knee. We were flying and we could have been closer to 9 hours easily!
  • Mother and daughter running: We heard a alot by friends and strangers how cool and nice it was to be doing this race together. I guess I have always taken it for granted running with my mom because she is the “runner” and I was just tagging along, but now I know what people are talking about. It is because of her I ran this race and I am so grateful for her, her advice and support. I love running with her and could not have done that well on the 50 miler without her. I mean who else gets to run 50 miles with your best friend, who can also kick your butt into gear when you need it?
  • We both finished first on our age group, 7th and 8th woman overall!
  • I was not dead crossing the finish line, due to helping my mom. I could have gone faster starting earlier in the race, so I guess I am going to have to do another one!
  • I never had any issues, pains during the run except my hips. They were very sore even at the start of the race. I got a massage after the race and the evil massage lady dug her fingers into both hips-causing more pain than I actually had during the race!
  • One thing I found out more about myself: I am competitive. At mile 11.5 the volunteer filling up my bottle said I was 5th woman and I was done. I could not let that leave my thoughts and by mile 15 I knew I was not going to finish past 10th place. Sorry Mom. It is odd thinking about it, because in swimming in highschool and age group, I hated competing and would rather practice for hours instead. I still like training runs, but running racing is so much fun, my competitive side comes out i guess.
  • My dad, who has had many years of Chicago marathon cheering, watching, etc experience, did a great job at his first time crewing. He was cameraman (needed my sister for that one) and had everything we needed ready to go.


  • Starting weight training-working on abs, shoulders, and hips!
  • Chicago marathon in 4 weeks! Plan is to take an easy week this week, and then get back into training plan mentality next week. Today I ran 3.5 and felt great, a little tight and sore but not too bad!
  • Again, my mom and I will be running together at The Huff 50k in Indiana in December. Being only a 50k, should be pretty easy right? haha
  • Planning on running either another 50 or and my first 100 miler (i will probably do the 100 knowing me) in April 2014, again in IN. The Indiana Trail 100 miler is a good one i have heard!
  • I am going to try to start a Anton Krupicka style blog and write a week recap with everything I did related to running. Might be easier to get me to sit down and write!
  • I would like to crew/pace/volunteer at races more. A friend of mine is running 150 miles in April and hopefully he will ask me to help crew! I think I need to see others running a 100 race, and see them at mile 76, to really see what I am getting in to!

Mile 21


SO, In two weeks I will turn 21, and can have my ultrarunner celebratory beer after my races, I am still waiting to lose a toenail or two, and most importantly I can officially call myself an ultra runner 🙂


After the race: we both finished 1st on our age groups!

and… im doing a 50 miler

Yes you read that right. I am doing a 50 mile race. Sometimes i cannot believe, and others I cannot wait!

The 50 mile race is the North Face Endurance Challenge in Wisconsin next Saturday the 14th. My mom has been training for it since the beginning of summer, with me as her training buddy on most of her runs.

I was going to be the pacer. The pacer. Only 23 miles to run. I was looking at it like a nice easy run, trying not to make fun of mom as she hobbles up hills, but not anymore. Now i will be snailing up the hill right along side of her.

The other night I got a call from my mom, out to dinner with my dad with about 2 beers down her. “You should just run with me!” she exclaimed.

Instead of hesitation, fear, dread, laughing, I responded, “Ok!”

And that was it. I decided to run. My mom told me to run at least 40 miles that weekend (last weekend) and call her afterwards if I decide to do it or not based on the runs. Already decided in my mind, I had a great 25-mile run through the Griffy Lake trails and a nice, flat Carmel, IN run with a friend.

Now, with only 9 more days to race day, I am gorging myself on ultra podcasts, videos, and blogs. I watched Rory and Tony during each mile of the UTMB, well whatever i got through twitter at least.

I have been listening to TrailRunner Nation podcasts each time I go on a run by myself. I have learned so much and yet have one thing to learn: actually experiencing the run for myself. I know I can read and study all week long but I will not know what will happen come race day.

As of now, my runs have been good, light and quick. I have been talkative, which is not usually the case, and I feel good. Thinking about the race I am more nervous that something will happen, like stomach issues or an injury, more so than the actual running 50 miles. But one thing trumps all fears: Community.

I will be part of the ultra-running community. I am so excited to join the people talking on Twitter every Sunday on #ultrachat. I will know what the T.R.N guys are saying about hitting the wall, feeling the emotions of finishing an ultra, and learning about trail etiquette during a 50 miler. I am ready to be an ultra-runner and ready to fulfill the part of me that yearns to run for 10+ hours!

“Let’s run some hills!” – Saint Ralph