Jody's Quest for 50k+ a month for 12 months
Hi I’m Jody, trail name JSolo. I’m a vegan ultrarunner and part of Team Vegan Powered Athlete. I love art, music, nature, IPA, and I love to trail run. Sometimes I dabble with cycling. I’ve been vegan for 5 years or so and originally did so because I wanted to be healthier. After really researching veganism, it quickly turned into being and staying vegan not only for my health, but also for the animals, and the environment. My running coach at the time, Doug Hay helped guide me away from eating blocks of cheese and dozens of eggs to a pure plant-based diet. Doug also taught me how to be an ultrarunner…….or at least his podcasts did in the very beginning.
After being rejected as a coaching client by a fairly well known ultrarunner and book author because I wasn’t fast enough and didn’t run enough miles for her, I figured I would coach myself through my first 50k. I have grit and determination, so I figured what the hell. To help me reach my goal, I turned to the podcast Trail Talk by Rock Creek Runner aka Doug Hay. I literally learned ultrarunning essentials while driving to and from work each day. As the race got closer and I started freaking out because I had never run a marathon let alone a 50k, I contacted Doug to start coaching me. I made it through my first 50k with about 15 minutes to spare and was not DFL so I would consider that a win.
Mendocino 50k was my first 50k and still a favorite that I run yearly. It is 100% vegan, has a generous cutoff time, and you get to run through redwoods (where I am sure there are ewoks and fairies co-existing together), along a river, onto the headlands, and across a beach in a giant 32 ish mile circle. I highly recommend it for any first timer or seasoned ultrarunner. There is no lottery, it is very small, and basically sells out in minutes every year.
I met Bj and Jess Gumkowski from Yogitriathlete my first year at the Mendo 50k. Jess was leading a guided meditation which I figured I really needed to attend because on my way to packet pickup I was so riddled with nervous energy that I started crying. After following their podcast for several months after the race, I decided that I wanted to be part of the Yogitriathlete team.
Yogitriathlete encompasses endurance sports, yoga, plant power, and mindfulness. My mindfulness was basically non-existent prior to joining the team. I grew so much in the almost four years that I was coached by both Bj and Jess. Not only did my endurance and athleticism improve, but I learned to really open my mind all while being in more control of my monkey brain.
Why 50k+ distance monthly for 12 months? I say, why not?
Last year I ran my first 100k. Did I mention that I love to spend hours in nature alone? I knew I loved long distance running, but this was a whole new ballgame and it was amazing! I mean, really, it’s just a 50k times two so no big deal right? I decided that it was time switch things up and started training with CTS coach Cliff Pittman about a month or so before the race (I see a pattern forming here LOL). He’s a badass ultrarunner, coached by Jason Koop, and I felt that he was a good fit for my next ultrarunning adventures. I tend to jump into things head first (my motto is generally “feel the fear and do it anyway”), so I had him fine tune some of my training as I went into the final few weeks prior to the 100k.
The 100k was a success and after running two 50k and one 100k distance races by June 4th of last year, I decided it was time to just work on base building and maintaining. I am not much for resolutions, but I can totally get behind a good goal. Going into 2023, I told Cliff that I wanted to run a 50k or longer distance each month for the entire year and he totally jumped on board with my adventures! Most of these runs will be self-supported efforts because I am not a huge lover of racing in general and honestly, I think there is something to be said for running long distances without a lot of people around you, zero aid stations, and no cheering crowds of people.
I am almost three months into my goal and have completed my January and February self-supported 50k with my March 50k taking place in just a few days. I’m excited to see what my mind and body can do over this year as I adventure my way through 50k+ distance runs, especially as I near the end and get closer to my planned 100k distance in October. I know the tricks that the mind can play and I am prepared for them. I’m prepared for those feelings of inadequacy. I’m prepared for the imposter syndrome to try and push its way in. I’m prepared for the roller coaster of emotions, the darkness, and the pain when it comes because I am strong, I have grit, and I have determination.
Follow me on my running adventures on Instagram @runner_chik