In a few days, on June 24 and 25, 48-year-old mom Bree Lambert will run The Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. As if that accomplishment itself weren’t impressive, inspiring, exhausting, challenging or simply amazing enough, her goal is to finish with a time under 24 hours.
If you’re not familiar with this racing format (or maybe even if you are!), this can be difficult to truly conceptualize. The average finishing time for females in 2014 for a 100-mile race was 28 hours and 34 minutes. But still, the harder part to understand is what that experience is really like.
The course covers rugged mountain trails from Squaw Valley to Auburn, Cali. (or basically Lake Tahoe to Sacramento). Competitors will run through freezing temperatures high in the mountains to temperatures greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the desert.
Bree Lambert is the USA Track and Field Masters Ultra Runner of the Year (Mountain Division), and she took the time to share some insight into her race preparation ahead of her 70th ultramarathon and second time running this race.
Bree has spent the past six months preparing for this race. She ran a 50-km (31-mile) race in February, a 50-mile race in April, and another 50-km in May. She runs about 65 miles per week. She regularly mixes in hilly trail climbing, long runs and 8- to 10-mile tempo road runs.
Some of the most important aspects of finishing a race like this include mental toughness, nutritional planning and pacing strategy.
“The physical component is important,” she says, “but if you don’t know how to fuel right and pace properly, your fitness ultimately won’t matter.”
She has a crew of five people plus her husband and 16-year-old daughter to help her stay on track during the race. The team keeps her properly fueled (with avocados, nut butter wraps, bars and soup, in addition to amino acid supplements), and her family will literally keep her on track by finishing out the last 38 and 2 miles respectively. Bree is especially excited about her daughter’s participation.
Bree always makes time for her daughter despite her demanding schedule.
“We always carve out mother-daughter time,” she says. “She knows she is top priority, and if there is ever a conflict with a race or training plan that might interfere with something that matters, I do not hesitate for a second to change what I am doing to accommodate her schedule.”
Not only is Bree a competitive racer and dedicated mom, she is also a trainer and nutritionist. To achieve balance with so many “moving parts,” as she calls them, she practices her mantra: Live well. Bree eats a predominantly plant-based diet, but she says she craves protein after races and usually eats a good turkey burger and french fries.
If you’re still wondering what could possibly make someone want to run 100 miles (more than once!?), wonder no more: Bree is passionate about running and finds it therapeutic. She focuses on her mantra.
“If we can allow ourselves to stretch our minds a bit more and embrace the discomfort of what we are facing (and) believe we can get to the finish line,” she says, “what we discover is an ability to grow and experience what might otherwise have seemed impossible.”
While running, she practices gratitude.
“It helps me put things in perspective when I hit a low point,” she says. “I have overcome so much in my life and pinch myself that I get to live this incredible life doing what I love. I am still blown away.”
She says the best advice she has ever received was from her husband: “Run your own race.” She offered some of her own advice to all runners: “Go face your mountains, and climb them one at a time. Endurance is developed over time at the cost of hard work and discomfort, but it’s so worth it.”
Good luck in this incredible endeavor, Bree!
Would you ever consider running an endurance race like this? What do you think of Bree’s experience and advice? —Megan