Ultra Crew 101

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My husband wrote a race recap about SD50 a few weekends ago.  That is from his perspective which is very introspective.  You should read it.  His race report made me want to write a how to for those of you who are helping your runner.  Some tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the past few years as a crew member.

I want to break this down into 3 parts, before the race, during the race and after, so I’ll probably make it 3 separate posts to keep from being overwhelming.

Before the race, your runner should be doing training.  I have found it a good idea to take note of what my runner is taking to eat and drink on their long runs and try to remember what they said worked and what didn’t work.  While most people are pretty good about knowing what works for their stomach, its a good idea for the crew to know also, just in case things go down hill for your runner mentally.

If you can, try to be conscious of the time it takes for your runner to complete their long runs.  It will give you a good idea of their pace so you can gauge how soon to meet them at aid stations during the race.  I would err on the side of quicker rather than slower, especially in the beginning of the race because of race jitters and pack mentality.  It doesn’t seem to be too uncommon for people to start the race faster than ending.

Pay attention to the “other” things your runner does to prepare for a race.  Do they apply sunscreen or body lubricant?  Do they always put tape on their heel to avoid blisters?  All those things are important to know to double check before the race.  A lot of times those things start super early and pre-race nerves can make it easy to forget, so being able to double check that your runner put a bandaid on their pinky toe will go a long way to making sure its a “comfortable” race.

Things not related to your runner that are helpful.  Pack your own crew bag or make sure you are there when the bag is packed.  Nothing is more frustrating than trying to find things when your runner is trying to get in and out of the aid station quickly.  Take a look at the crew access points along the race.  Map them!  Have a good understanding of how long it will take you compared to how long it should take your runner so you know if you have to rush or if you can take your time.  For some of you, it may be helpful to study the actual course also.  Know where the big climbs are or how long between aid stations.  Your runner may find that helpful during the race, being able to get that kind of information quickly.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn being a crew member is that I’m not only responsible for my runner but for me also.  I have to manage meeting my runner, taking care of their needs and making sure they have the best race possible, but that is really hard to do if you’re hungry!  You have to make sure you have what you need also.  The two biggest ones are something to do while you’re waiting and food.  If you don’t think there will be places to stop or you won’t have time to stop, buy snacks or keep a cooler with you so you can have food.  I know the aid stations have food, but that is for the runners to get them through the race, so I never ask them for something to eat.  If the crew is having a bad race, that can directly effect the runner, I know from experience.


Stay tuned for part 2, during the race!


Cardio 1/21

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5/1 walk run

2.0 miles


My calves were very, very tight so I spend a few minutes with the foam roller this evening. The foam roller and I are NOT friends!

WOD 1/20

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2.05 miles 


5 min warm up

1 min run / 5 min walk (4 times)

5 min cool down


San Diego Trail 50

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The ultra season starts this weekend!  My husband is running the San Diego Trail 50 on Saturday in the San Diego area.  I’m happy that it is a local race for the first time in a while!

I’m becoming quite proficient crewing and look forward to this one because the race information page says most aid stations are easily accessible.  To me, that means roads to drive on and parking lots to park in. Unlike a few of last years races where I was taking my Fiat onto pitted fire roads and almost getting stuck in mud!

We (the boy and I) always have such adventures during these things and I think this one will be no different.


Let’s be real…

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So, yesterday had a whole mix of emotions when it came to my workout.  I did a walk/run where I would walk 5 minutes and run 1 minute for a total of 30 – 35 minutes.  I’ve been doing that for the past two weeks and my first attempt was 1.83 miles the second was a little more, progress!  Yesterday I made it to 2.06 miles.  I was excited to have made it past two miles in the time.  I’m not running the whole time, but walking and running intervals being the same, I went further.  That seemed to me to be progress!

After sitting down to dinner and to watch a bit of TV, I stood up and the pain from my achilles tendonitis seemed to have returned.  So, from the high of seemingly doing so much better, I hit a low because how can I be proud of myself when such a simple exercise debilitates me?  My husband keeps telling me I have to accept where I am not where I think I should be, and that makes sense and logically I can understand that, but I can’t figure out how to accept that my body can’t even handle 4 minutes of very slow running mixed with significant walk breaks.  Its just very disheartening to know that I’ve gone through several months of physical therapy, seem a podiatrist several times and have completely stopped doing anything that may strain my lower leg and its still causing me problems, problems that essentially limit the amount and intensity of activity I can do.  I would go out on a limb and say most people can expect maybe a bit of soreness after starting a more higher impact workout, but not many people would expect to not be able to put weight on one of their limbs because of it.

It makes it hard to make any goals.  Right now I have a goal pants size, but I hesitate to put a time frame on that because I’m worried I’ll end up hurting myself.  I’d like to have a goal running race sometime…

I don’t know, its just very difficult for me because I feel like my body is rebelling against doing the most basic, simple exercise, and I don’t understand why. In general, shouldn’t someone reasonably be able to expect to start walking and not have any significant pain as a result?  Frustrating!

I don’t expect anyone to relate or to provide any advice, I just needed to vent for myself.  Thank you for letting me get that off my chest!


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Getting back into the swing of things, I’m happy with 5 days of exercise this week even though only 2 were cardio.  Next week my goal is 3 days of cardio, 2 strength days and 2 climbing days.  That shouldn’t be a problem, but we’ll see how it goes.  We’re headed to San Diego 50 on Friday for my husband’s ultra.  That will be another kind of workout on its own!  First race of the season, hopefully it isn’t that cold of a day.

What is your goal for working out?  7 days a week or do you give yourself days off?

Back in the Saddle

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Hi!  I know I’ve been absent… I haven’t really been doing much to write about, but now I’m back!  I’ve been trying to run again, taken up weight lifting (a little), rock climbing and taking college classes to be a web designer.

I plan to share all the great pictures I intend to take on our adventures and keep track of all the fun fitness stuff I will get into this winter!

New year new goals? Or do you keep your goals the same from year to year?