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My Overall Win at the Donna 110 in Memory of My Sister Debby.

by Dawn Lisenby on 03/05/22

The tale of my Donna 110 race can be told via the letter C.
Mine was made up of two very good friends; one, Victoria who has been an athlete of mine for close to six years. And the other T; who has been my medical support, and right hand woman, at all of the races I direct for as many years. I originally asked them to help at the start to get my things to base camp and again at the finish of the marathon to get me back to the hotel. In between I would crew myself. They insisted on staying for the duration. I certainly was not going to say no to that and am so thankful they did!
They posted up 4 miles out from base camp on the 8 mile loop and were a welcome sight the 9 times I saw them. They selfless crewed through the cold and rain, staying positive, focused, encouraging, and ready for me. I never saw one bit of negativity, despite the very miserable conditions they endured from 9 pm till our finish the first night at 3 am, and their having been in the cold since 6:30 am. Fortuitously, once the winds got high they had the ability to take cover in a tent conveniently placed and weighted down for the marathon.
After getting back to the hospitality suite, and their bringing ALL my stuff inside in case I needed it!, we got a tiny bit of rest. We awakened at 6 am to be at the marathon start by 7am. I was stiff but not as bad as thought I would be due to foam rolling/stretching. They then met me every 4 miles of the marathon. Once again anticipating my every need, bringing me a much enjoyed Egg McMuffin/coffee and endlessly championing me all the way to the finish. I could not have done this without them. I am so grateful for their support. I know even more now what two truly amazing people and friends they are.
I am not going to lie they scared me to death, but they also brought out the best in me. The toughest one in getting to 72 miles in 18 hours. With the weather that one worried me. I appreciated so much Chris’s encouragement that I could meet them. But again it was not easy. I NEVER really stopped. My crew walked with me to hand me my needs. My longest stop was 17 minutes to suite up for rain. Thankfully due to my sponsors SUPERIOR products (see hashtags below:) I did not have to change my shoes and socks NOT once in 82 miles, nor did I need to change my apparel. I had ZERO blisters or chafing, despite running in rain for 12.5 hours!! Nor after running 26.2 miles in it the next day!
The 8 mile loop used for the ultra is a beauty. I never grew tired of it. I LOOKED forward to seeing parts of it again and again. I heard an owl just before sunset and saw two red-tailed hawks. There were beautiful houses to view. And many sightings of my Big Blue. It does not get much better than that for a city course.
I have never had so many people come out and encourage me while running an ultra. The mayor of Atlantic Beach, Ellen Glasser was at our start and came to base camp to cheer us on at night. One of my new athletes that lives along the course made me signs and cheered me on all the first day with her sweet family. This community loves this race and it shows!! Thanks to to my friends who took the time out of their races on Sunday to offer encouragement. It truly all made an impact on my running a strong race.
The Donna 110 is part of the 26.2 with Donna The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer /Half/15k/5k which benefits the Donna Foundation. It is committed to funding ground breaking breast cancer research. As well as to provide financial assistance and support to those living with breast cancer. The research they fund enables women like my sister to have the opportunity to live as long as they can via trials developed. Without it her life span would have been much shorter and her now 10 year old son might not have remembered his Mom. It is a vital mission with 1 in 8 women developing breast cancer. Thanks to Donna, Amanda, and Chris for creating and contributing to this life giving mission. I also greatly appreciated the support of all those who helped on the day: Marc, Mollie and Dave; and the Donna Ambassadors who cheered me into the finish.
It is my hope and goal to be a part of the future of the Donna 110 and see it grow. If your an ultrarunner, or an aspiring one, you need to run this race. You have never felt ultra love like this before. It stands out as the most amazing race of my life, and not just because I was the first female overall champion in the history of their race, but for all of the above, as well as it being in memory of my sister, Debby. I know she would be proud to have played her part in bringing attention to such a worthy cause.

Fortitude to Finish: Securing my Badwater Qualifier at the Daytona 100

by Dawn Lisenby on 03/05/22

When I first saw the word fortitude in a comment made on my post regarding my worry about finishing the Daytona 100 after losing my sister, it spoke to me. When I looked up its meaning it became clear why:
1. courage in pain or adversity
2. “she endured her illness with great fortitude"
My sister Debby showed great fortitude throughout her entire 8 year battle with metastatic breast cancer. Surely, I thought I could do so for a little over a day despite my grief and an injury sustained 3 weeks prior to race day from a hard fall on both knees while out on a run.
It occurred just after returning home from being by my sister’s bedside, and getting the news that her liver was rapidly declining. It was painful enough that I had it checked for a fracture and had to run with a compression sleeve on my left knee leading up to race day.
I have reflected on how I finished despite these obstacles and have come up with the following nine items (using the letters in a word I now cherish) to share what enabled me to have the “fortitude to do so despite my pain and adversity.”
F-Friendship and family. My crew, pacers, and family, showed great understanding and love for me throughout the days leading into and during the race. Lulu, Amy, (crew) Andrea and Rebecca (pacers) were attentive, caring, invested, unflaggingly positive and fun. As all good crew, pacers and friends are.
Additionally, along the way I was buoyed forward by my friend Mike Martinez who was manning the 50k AS. At mile 22
I had begun to experience excruciating pain on the top of my left foot, most likely a compensation from the taping of my left knee for the race.
I thought about quitting due to it. Seeing him running out to greet me with his bull horn, and displaying a sign he made for me, lifted me so high that it carried me all the way to mile 50. Where he once again showed up to check on my progress.
O-Ocean aka Big Blue. At lows I listened for it to keep me moving through the 70 miles I ran solo till I picked up my first pacer around midnight. I was also motivated by my Big Blue quest to finish another 100 miles, with now all but two short segments left to complete it.
R-Radiant sunsets and sunrises from the beginning to the end of the race. I have truly never seen so many back to back gorgeous ones. As depicted in my pics that are in order of occurrence. It was a gift that fed my soul. It kept me moving forward with gratitude to be out there.
T-Trust-At the beginning of the race I was probably 3rd to last. I went out especially slow due to my knee injury and exhaustion. But I kept trust in the process, my training, my plan, and my fueling. It paid off with my passing many runners and running strong up till mile 70. I was proud to finish in 27:08 considering my circumstances.
Had my injury not led to my having to tape my opposite knee at mile 50 due to compensation, and both knees swelling by mile 80 inhibiting my being able to run anymore, there is no doubt in my mind I would have PR’d this race (which I was only 15 min off of doing) despite all that should have kept me from even finishing it.
I-Intervals-I changed my run/walk intervals for this race due to injury and they worked like a charm. That’s all I have to say about that. Somethings must remain secret. ??
T-Teamwork-We had a simpatico team of crew and pacers. Cooperation, along with plenty of laughter, was had from beginning to end.
U-Ultra adventure and community. I love the problem solving that a 100 mile adventure brings. And the ultra community once again showed up for me by bringing me into this race feeling supported and cared about. It made all the difference.
A special note of thanks to Lisa Smith-Batchen for her understanding and love shown to me in the days leading into the race. Having lost her sister just recently to cancer too, she knew more than most what I was going through. I carried her words with me through the race “just think one more step forward”.
D-Dedication to the goal of achieving my Badwater qualifier. It has been a long held dream to run the “worlds toughest footrace”. It therefore was a great motivation to reach that finish with only a month left to secure a necessary qualifier to secure my 2022 race entry.
E-Emerge. I wanted to use the inspiration of my sister to come out of this race with the courage and strength to face the future without her by my side. I believe I have, and will continue to be successful in this due in large part to the overwhelming support shown by all of you along the way. I know you will continue to be there for me in the days ahead, as I will for you in your life challenges. We got this! Thanks to all of you for all your love and kindness these past 4 very difficult weeks.

Continuing My Big Blue Quest with 62 Solo Miles from Oak Hill to Melbourne!

by Dawn Lisenby on 03/05/22

Big Blue 62 was planned in essence to be a training run. An audacious endeavor for sure, but one from which I could see exactly where my hip was at 6 months post injury, and how well it would hold up to the pounding of that many miles of pavement.
It also was part of a quest to eventually run the entire east coast of Florida, after having completed my Big Blue 132 last July from Delray to Melbourne, which was a way to use my many months of training once Badwater 135 was canceled.
Additionally, having run Keys 100, and various other races along the east coast, I realized there were not too many miles left to accomplish that goal and it would be “FUN”.
MY ONLY goal for the BB 62 was to finish and feel “strong” when I did to give myself the confidence that I could go 100 miles in a few months to get my qualifier required for my 2022 Badwater 135 guaranteed entry due to its 2020 cancelation.
Once Lulu and I arrived at our very appropriately “Blue” Airbnb we looked at the exact route I would take. We saw that it would have to start a bit south of New Smyrna in Oakhill, Florida to be 62 miles in length in order to reach the spot I finished BB 132 in Melbourne. We also concluded that due to the Merritt Island Nature Preserve on that section of a1a causing it to dead end, I would have to run for many miles on US1 to reach it.
I began at 5:45 am running along the dark shoulder of US1, practicing my white line love. I enjoy running in the dark so through the nature preserve listening to the sounds of animals I was in a happy place. I did have to watch for cars but as it was early, they were few and far between allowing me to settle into a nice rhythm for the first 10 miles. Once the sun came up I entered into the town of Mims and was entertained by my sights and the very cool aspect of getting to experience remote Florida towns on foot.
As I moved closer to Titusville the traffic got heavy and with no sidewalk, car exhaust, and temps beginning to rise, I was desperate to get off that road. I would have another 17 miles before I did. Many times, I had to step off the road, slowing my forward progress, while also managing my fluids and calories. Lulu was a bright spot, once again proving what amazing crew and SIS she is, stopping every 2-3 miles to keep me cool and fueled.
At mile 20 we did some re-lubing of the feet and changing of my clothes due to it being HOT and my being drenched from sweat. At twenty-five miles in, US1 intersected with a major highway. With it being too sketchy for me to navigate safely, I hopped in the car and was driven past the major intersection. This being a training run our rule was if I needed to do so I would, as we did not do any reconnaissance beforehand. This amounted to some time and 1.5 miles on the tracker, but was added to the end as watch was paused.
I got a short reprieve from dodging cars as I entered into the lovely town of Titusville and found sidewalk. It was 10:30 am. I was nearing my marathon distance and things were heating up with the index of 93 degrees. I was still maintaining a good pace and eating/fueling well. Not long after, I was back out to US1 and no sidewalk for a bit, which mentally was wearing me down along with the temps.
Eventually just before the 50k distance I made my turn onto Indian River Dr, which was where I finally was running along the beautiful, blue, water and with amazing, homes on my right. I ran comfortably here for a bit even though there was no sidewalk as traffic was light.
However, as I neared Cocoa it began to get heavier resulting in my continually having to step off the road. I also was feeling SO HOT with the heat index nearing 100 and running in nearly no shade for 40 miles. As soon as Lulu would put ice on me, which was every 2 miles at this point, it was melting. I also could no longer wear my ice hat as weight of it was straining my neck. From that point I used boob ice, my sleeves and my baseball cap to keep cool. My stomach also started to resist food with my HR up 20 beats when running from heat, so was relying on mostly fluids with some bites here and there.
Just as I was nearing 40 miles, I had to cross my first bridge. Now I have crossed many a scary bridge in my lifetime as an ultrarunner, hello seven-mile bridge in the Keys 100 twice!, but on the 520 bridge to Merritt Island the fear of death factor was at an all-time high. I kept repeating to myself for its MILE!! length as cars were flying past me at 55+, “just get to the other side”, “you can do this”, and “keep eyes straight ahead, legs moving forward”.
This should have been a place where Lulu transported me. She said as she watched me crossing that she was worried, but there was no way of rescuing me at that point due to fast flow of traffic and ZERO shoulder to run on. To every car that went by I lifted my hand with my water bottle so they could see me.
There were about 40 or so cars that I did this to due to it being around 5 pm and flow of traffic being heavy. One of which found it funny to swerve right at me. Why is this always a guy in a truck?! I literally had to make a move for the ledge on the guard rail, which he found amusing. I think he read my lips well of my response.
Once over that hurdle I tried again to settle into a rhythm for my last 20 miles, as I turned onto Tropical Trail. It had nice water views on my right and was my final road before hitting a1a. I was hoping a threatening storm would come to wash me off as I looked like, as Lulu described me, like a “drowned rat”, due to the excessive humidity. The storm never came and the humidity remained.
I also had no reprieve from heavy traffic as this road had very little sidewalk again and had faster moving vehicles. There also was little shoulder causing me to have to run over the grass for long stretches. The stomach was also beginning to no longer find anything appealing, except for some mashed potatoes that were a welcome change. Fluids were still processing well though.
As sunset began to loom, we realized it would be too dangerous for me to continue on this road due to visibility and footing issue, so we made the choice to cut over earlier than planned to a1a via the 404 bridge. Not wanting to risk anything with it being dusk and my last harrowing bridge crossing, Lulu transferred me over the approximately 2 miles. Again, to compensate miles were added on to route.
I had finally arrived on to a1a. My final 12 miles was on! I was spent, but buoyed forward by finishing the quest and Lulu’s relentless enthusiasm. I briefly flirted in my mind of making it the Big Blue 50 when the route and heat made it longer in duration then I expected. LOL. BUT, I knew Lulu would never have stood for that, even though she had been crewing for 14 hours.
Also, that I would not be happy with myself being so close to my goal and not seeing it realized. I soldiered on, still battling 93-degree heat index at 9 PM. I did stop to still take my pics, as I had been doing, to remember what I had the privilege to see, and despite the suffering to soak it all in before its end.
I made it to within a mile of the finish and saw a most wonderful sight. Lulu running out to do my final mile by my side. Up to then I had run solo, as I wanted to and needed to. I truly felt like crying, but instead was given much energy by my SIS’s presence, even though so drained. I reached the planned finish spot and came up at 61.5 miles on my watch, after all that, so like any good ultra-runner I ran a few loops around the parking lot to make it an official 62. LOL.
WE had DONE it! I was worked, but so happy, thankful and full of gratitude, to all who helped me arrive at another Big Blue finish line. My SIS, Lulu who sacrificed her weekend to spend it following me and who I could never have done this without. To my athletes, who inspire me with their goals, dedication and trust. To my friends, who motivate me to always give my best. To my family who understands my desire for ultra-adventure. To my sponsors whose products get me to every finish line feeling like a champion. I love you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Big Blue 62 was truly something I had to accomplish to know that I am able to pursue bigger goals ahead. Thanks to all of you who believe in me. It really does make all the difference.

Executing a Most Succesful Hundred Mile Race at Mountaineer Rumble 100!

by Dawn Lisenby on 04/02/21

“If you want something you never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
-Thomas Jefferson
My preparation for Mountaineer Rumble ?? really began in January when I decided that if I was going to perform like I needed to for a successful finish at my A race of the year, Badwater 135, I had to dial in every aspect of my training. I decided after watching Gamechangers to go back to being vegetarian, (I had been so for 20 years until, ironically, I began running in 2002 and thought I needed to eat meat for iron), to see if it had an effect on my performance and more importantly my recovery. It absolutely did.
I also began working on being less reactive to stressful life situations to improve health and mental well-being . A timely and EXTREMELY helpful element with COVID rearing it’s head.
Lastly, in the month leading up to the race I completely cut out all alcohol leading into the race. I do not drink much at all but like a glass of wine/beer here and there but found even one to disturb my sleep, which adversely affects recovery. This past month has been a revelation in just what it feels to be truly rested. The energy from it has been amazing.
I think due to the above and working on quality, not quantity, training I went into MR strong, despite not training AT ALL for this type of terrain; constant ups and downs, some quite steep, and an elevation gain/loss of 9,000 ft. As a reminder this was a back up race after Across Florida 200 got canceled. I had done minimal technical trail, besides running The Tick and prepping for Jacks. But I did have a vision for executing a strong 100 mile race at it.
I dialed in my nutrition to the calorie, something I advise my runners to do, to prevent stomach issues. I also focused on eating real food, with cooler temps enabling that. I still used my baby food when the body got tired of digesting the other.
My crew of
was integral to my success. She knows how to read me and had everything ready for me. She also makes a mean grilled cheese. ?? She is 100% focused on the task and invested in my success. She also REALLY enjoys ULTRA. Something you just can’t buy. She is the BEST of the best. And not just on race day but to spend the weekend with too. I love this girl through and through. We are SIS for a reason and definitely more than a season. ??
When I knew I was running MR 100 I reached out to a runner I knew who had just moved to area to see if he would pace me for the middle 50k loop.
not only said he would, but did course recon for me ahead of the race. After seeing the technical terrain once there I made an in race decision to have him come for the last loop to help me navigate through the challenging course in the dark.
I had turned my ankle within the first 3 miles of the race due to all the leaves covering the many rocks and roots. This made it necessary for me to manage a wonky ankle from that point on, as it continued to lack stability. The thought of trying to do it alone in the dark made me worry about finishing.
This decision was integral to my successful finish, when after mile 70 the AS made us aware of looming cutoffs. I began to run hard as sun rose after a long, dark, ten mile stretch and immediately fell (my first and only) gashing my knee open. I would have to deal with that as well over the remaining miles but luckily it was not too deep, just painful.
This course has what one runner counted as 45 total water crossings, some knee deep, making the feet just one more item to add to the list of painful things to deal with. Especially when time made it impossible to stop to deal with them the last 25 miles.
Steven never wavered in his push nor his positivity that I would make each time cutoff needed. He went above and beyond to make sure I did, even as he began to feel the effects of the terrain himself.
His belief in me made me want to achieve, even when I went the final 10 miles on my own. During those miles I told myself “You did not bring Lulu and Steven here not to finish this thing. You better show up for them and all those who believe in you”. I pushed myself relentlessly over those last miles, passing a few guys along the way who would not finish. My mental game was the strongest it has ever been for the entire race but especially towards the end. The video I posted is from this stretch of the race when I finally began to believe that I would endure to the finish.
Until I did I had no idea of the toll this race course took on the field, the others in our Florida contingent, nor that I was 2nd female, 17 th overall. I just knew I was so VERY proud of what my team and I had just accomplished and all the work leading into this race I had done to enable it to be so.
Congrats and gratitude to the RD,
Chris Waldt
, for putting on his first 100 mile race in a most difficult year to do so. This will be one that others will come to measure themselves up against. It is a brutal, beautiful, beast! I know a few of us already plan to be back, but this time I am opting for the 100k! ??
Thanks to my sponsors for helping me to achieve the measure of success I do. Your products truly make it so. Lastly, to my A Team; the Florida runners who took on this race
, Donna, and
; those I met while running it; and all who sent messages of support both before and during; thank you for believing I could.

Suffering at it's Finest-2020 Tick 57.5 Mile Trail Race

by Dawn Lisenby on 04/02/21

Suffering to merely say I endured suffering does not motivate me anymore after 10 years of running ultras. Nor does finish line bling, albeit I do like my buckles. ?? For me to put myself through the pain and discomfort that is part and parcel of running ultras I have to be inspired by; the adventure of the unexpected, a beautiful course, and the opportunity to spend the day with my ultra family. ??
The Tick 57.5 miler checked all those boxes. It certainly was an “adventure” moving for long stretches in 99-103 degree heat index without crew access. I have run many hot races but never in this kind of heat without the ability to manage it via ice, water etc. The longest were two back to back 10 mile sections; the last in full sun prairie from mile 30-40 that I would never fully recover from. From that point on it was relentless forward progress, while distracting myself with the beauty around me and trying my best to keep my stomach from rebelling through the remaining 17 miles, man was I wishing it was a 50 miler at that point. ??
From the pics you can see the splendor of this course. My favorite sighting was a beautiful owl. He flew right across the trail and perched in the tree to pose for me. I stood there staring at his awesomeness, while he stared right back. I told him, “okay you are worth this suffering”. He looked like he was saying back, “you have issues”. ??
Helping to also alleviate my misery were the moments I got to run with others taking on the challenges of the day. Andrew, Joshua, Bryan, and the ladies Kirsten, Jean and Andrea, all who inspired me so much. Andrea I will suffer and move with you any day. My best miles on the day were with you. Congrats on your win! You more than earned and deserved it. But what truly kept me going despite my body’s pleas to stop, and true my minds unwillingness to give in, was my soul sista and stellar crew. I knew I could not do this without her by my side and I was right. She went above and beyond to take care of me during, and after the race when I was very sick. She even took quite a few ticks for the team!
I love you and can’t wait to be the best crew for you and our celebratory dinner.??
Thanks to my sponsors for your superior products. I had ZERO foot issues due to Trail Toes and Salming Trail 5, these shoes are the BEST. Everyone told me I smelled and looked good all day, which I attribute to my amazing sports apparel INKNBURN. And my Tomboy keeps my skin happy despite all that SUN.??
Lastly. Rich and Jen thank you for putting on this race, you have a gem! I love the concept of your races and is what I have always aspired to with mine; to keep it simple, small, and offer a challenging race on a beautiful course. I can’t wait for your next one! Oh wait, I did retire about 5 times those last ten miles in the dark. ??
To end on a positive note, my body felt strong all day with no physical problems presenting themselves despite all those miles on a trail. I think 16.25 hours of suffering made for VERY good ACFL 200 training!

No 2020 Badwater? No Problem. My 2020 Big Blue 132 Solo Run

by Dawn Lisenby on 04/02/21

The Big Blue 132 mile solo run was conceived as a journey run. In concept it was to experience an epic adventure with my #SIS. (Sisters In Suffering) It ended up being that and so much more.
Starting out in Delray at 1 pm. with a storm moving in I was incredibly excited to get running after many weeks of uncertainty concerning Badwater 135. I never saw this run as a replacement for my dream race, but merely as a way to use my training, enjoy Florida’s beauty, and spend time with those I cherish.
Within the very first 5 miles I was greeted by my other #SIS, the beautiful
, who made me a sign to cheer me forward. I smiled for miles after that.
Running was easy and smooth for the first 30 miles as I was continually awed by the natural and man made beauty I was running through in Palm Beach. However, I was aware that high humidity might be an issue for me, as it always is. My INCREDIBLE crew was on it though, stopping every two miles to keep me cool and replenished.
As I neared N. Palm Beach I got a burst of energy, after a not so great section on US-1, with a visit from THE
Jeff Stephens
. We shared a few laughs over the Blue Heron bridge back to A1A.
Shortly after that I was treated to a 10 mile tour to Lighthouse Park with the AMAZING
Michael Brown
. I had the beginnings of some stomach discomfort. I decided to eat some real food, try to walk for a bit to help with it and just enjoy the time/conversation with one of the best people I know. Right at the very end of my miles with him, as we were admiring the Jupiter Lighthouse and walking in the center median, my stomach gave up the goods in a big way. ?? Being who he is he took it in stride and made me laugh about it.
Miles 40-50 I was distracted from my discomfort from the energy of
one very special person and the surroundings through Hobe Sound. It was a highlight of my journey to spend many miles sharing stories, thoughts and laughs with
Tony Himanshu Mehta
. Over the course of our time together we solved all the worlds problems. Unbeknownst to him I am nominating him to be inducted as an honorary male member of the #SIS.
With my stomach not letting me take anything in due to continued high humidity through the night and heat stress, I decided to try and rest for a bit to let it reset and give my hardworking crew some much needed rest. For an hour and a half I laid in discomfort trying to sleep but unable to.
I began to move again just before sunrise and was having no improvement leading me to contemplate wether I could continue for so many more miles. I thought “what would I tell my athletes to do”. What came to mind was “eat an Egg McMuffin, hold the ham” lol. This solved the problem of my 20 miles of nausea. My body needed some fat and real food to reset.
As I made my way through beautiful Port Salerno I began to get some energy back. Miles 70-80, on Hutchinson Island South in full morning sun, were spent moving cautious and focused through the heat, which made it feel incredibly long. At the end though, as I crossed over at quaint Ft. Pierce Inlet, a monsoonal thunderstorm occurred. Melissa and I enjoyed moving through it together, while Lulu grabbed us some food from a beach eatery. We sat and enjoyed a delicious dinner together in the car, before I crossed back over to N. Hutchinson Island.
It is here that I made a mistake that would come back to haunt me. I did not retape the hotspots, ( that developed despite repeated replying of lube from constant moisture due to humid conditions), after running through rain. I corrected it just a few miles afterwards with the help of Lulu and her magic crew supplies (she has everything and more), but the damage had been done. The pain in my feet from so many miles of cement sidewalk and trench foot that developed under tape would be my biggest challenge to moving forward over my remaining miles. True to ultra, when one challenge is met another follows, such as in life.
North Hutchinson Island, my final island, was spent touring beautiful Vero through the night miles, joined by Tony again, and clicking over ?? miles. At that point I knew I would make it to the finish despite getting super fatigued from moving for 32 hours without rest. I tried again to do so for 20 minutes but the nerve pains in my feet were so great, even when elevated, that I could not, so I continued onward.
Those overnight hours I battled hallucinations and ultra blindness, something I had heard of but never experienced, where I actually could barely see out of my right eye. But despite it all I appreciated being out there moving through the desolate surroundings, sharing conversations and the quiet night with my best gals.
As I experienced my second sunrise of my journey and entered Sebastian Inlet,
it took every ounce of focus I had to make it through full on sun and suffering to my finish line, which after multiple bridge crossings due to islands, ended up being Melbourne Beach.
One of my athletes and friends
Bryan Bost
joined me for a few miles at the perfect time. Fortuitously, just as he was about to leave, and with 8 miles left, my watch died. Without me asking him he offered his Suunto 9 to finish out my run like a true ultra runner would. I was so grateful to him as to not know how many exact miles I had left may would have been an added difficulty to deal with.
I grew emotional as I neared the last mile for all that I had gone through and this incredible journey coming to an end. But just as quickly my tears gave way to a smile when I saw the lovely
Dana R Ma
running towards me from where my #SIS were waiting for me. My exact mile of 132 finished coincidentally where a giant star was painted on the sidewalk and a yahoo carton had been discarded. It could not have been more perfect.
What I experienced out there was transformative and what ultra is truly about. Knowing that the pain of challenges will come and when it does you will answer by moving through them. What enables us to do so is the strength of the community that surrounds us. What inspires us to is the beauty that we have to move through. More now than ever I know just how incredibly magnificent of a state Florida is.
I can never thank
enough for making all of this possible for me. But I will attempt to try by paying it forward to them and all of you, my ultra family, that I appreciate and love so very much. Nothing will ever diminish what we have, not even a world wide pandemic.
Till we meet again. ??

2020 LH 100 Iconic Florida Buckle Earned!

by Dawn Lisenby on 04/02/21

I can’t stop smiling. Not just because of course it is the day AFTER and I am already romanticizing the 100 mile distance and how wonderful it is. ????
But because as one of my lovely friends so appropriately conveyed “my heart tank is full.”
How lucky I am to have spent a day, four hours, and fifty minutes on some beautiful trails in the woods, surrounded by an incredible group of people. Some who were my support, my athletes, others my comrades, my inspiration and cherished friends. You kept me moving and laughing...which at times was not easy.
I was moving well for my first 70 miles. Keeping at bay problems that many were experiencing due to going out fast in heat and would lead to lots of dnfs, close to 70 by some accounts. However the last 50k+ 3.5 miles ?? the suffering was REAL as I battled sleep deprivation at night with some nice hallucinations. As well as, the uneven terrain catching up with me and causing some stress to my back/hip leading to my need to slow down. However due to of all of you I never had a doubt I would make it to the finish, which was my primary goal, to collect this buckle that has been on my bucket list since I began running ultras, as another friend said “because it is a piece of Florida ultra history.”
Thanks to
for keeping Long Haul alive so I could. The volunteers for their time, my favorite
for cheering me forward, making me food and giving his all always. My SIS
who I am so grateful to and love dearly as they go above and beyond for me.
for pacing me through the night, telling me stories, making me laugh and distracting me from the pain.
, and Jesse, for their endless encouragement and smiles.
Lastly a huge thank you to my sponsors. I have not a single blister and zero chafing. My nutrition was spot on despite the heat. I got sooo many comments on my Salming Speed that flowed and glowed in the dark. My INKnBURN apparel kept me cool, warm and looking good through the many miles. I may have had a few wardrobe changes. ?? Till we meet again ultra family. Happy Trails!
#bestcreweva #inspiration #buckleup #ultrarunning #longhaul100 #ultra #race #ultrarunner #girlwithcurls #strong #body #mind #skratchlabs #trailtoes #inknburn #tomboytribe #salmingrunning #iloverunning #I??100

Lake to Ocean 100k-Giving It My Heart and Sole!! :)

by Dawn Lisenby on 06/08/19

I gave my ?? and soul to L2O 100k. But even when battling 95 degree heat, water/mud for 20 miles, and 3 epic hard falls, I still managed to accomplish my goal of navigating through this course, soaking in the incredible beauty, and finding my way with joy. Thrilled to also finish as 3rd female overall in 16:48.

Except for early on when I ran with Tony through a section of Dupuis, so pretty with wildflowers, and last 7 miles of JD, I ran this race on my own. I listened to music for only 9 HOT miles of mucky, mud through Corbett to distract myself from my legs being still tired from racing in the Keys. Also my body was not processing fluids due to heat and was making for miserable running. My rockstar crew Maya made it all better as her and Lulu worked to cool me at 31 miles in and massaged my legs in tandem!!

The next section was very exposed and hot to Beeline but I saw hope on the horizon as a storm was brewing. This was my favorite part of the race, moving through a thunderstorm in the Slough. I felt like I was in a tropical rain forest I was excited that I was reaching my goal of getting to Riverbend an hour or so before cutoff so I could get through most of JD before dark. I always love and appreciate the ultra support at that last crew stop! Once again Maya was on it and got me out in 7 minutes!

I was finally feeling better stomach wise and began to work on clipping off some miles so I could get through tricky sections in light (thanks Mark for your tips they really helped). When it did get dark I was so glad to see a runner, Rob Towe, when we saw the giant hog. ?? We ran the dunes strong. Then it was but a boulevard of lined trees to the best finish in the ocean!

I was emotional for all this race meant to me in running for a friend who brought so much light and laughter to our community. I know I was being led by many who inspire me as I saw 5 cardinals on the course!

Of course I could not have completed this adventure without sweet Maya who did so great crewing a difficult race. Congrats to all the crews/runners! Thanks to Dusty for keeping this old school ultra going. And my sponsors for keeping me running strong! 

Keys 50k-Third Overall Female!!

by Dawn Lisenby on 06/08/19

What a day! No matter how many times I run this race I forget how unbearable the heat makes it. Maybe that’s part of why I keep coming back. LOL

I went out in the final wave for the 50k at 1:10 feeling inspired, ready to give it my all and see what my legs had in them. The cloud cover helped me to click off the early miles and run strong through the first 15. Then the SUN came out to play and gave me a reminder of what this race is all about.

In order not to overheat I had to slow my pace. Melissa McGinn worked tirelessly, and seamlessly, to keep me cool as I made my way to the finish line. She also kept me smiling, despite the self induced torture, and focused, when as luck would have it I had to battle to maintain my position the last 5 miles.

I can not tell you how good it felt to be able to stop running and learn that I had placed 3rd female, 12 th overall! This race holds such special meaning to me that to do so is really a dream, or I should say a long held goal, come true.

Thanks so much to my sponsors, whose products help me to attain the results I do. To my athletes for inspiring me with the GRIT you showed here this weekend, and all of you do always. My ultra friends for their cheering and belief in me. My family for your support and love. If this should be my last time running the Keys Ultra I could not have chosen a better ending.

Corbett 50k-A Near Perfect Day at the Races!

by Dawn Lisenby on 06/08/19

I cannot express how much it meant to me to win overall female at Corbett 50K yesterday. This race holds a special place in my ?? due to its cause, Team LeJuan buying musical instruments for kids; it’s RD being a good friend, and the old school running community that supports it. It was made more dear to me this year by a memorial bench being placed on the course in honor of my friend Ernie.

This year’s race was perfect in terms of weather but difficult in terms of coarse conditions with a lot of mud and water over the first 5 miles, some waist deep. The final 10 to turn around was perfect and fun running. Doing the mud and water back to the finish with 26 miles in your legs NOT fun. ?? More Pics to follow.

Thanks to Jeff Stephens for taking over as RD of this race and doing such a superb job. Christian’s absence was only felt because he has become synonymous with Corbett. Thank you to all the incredible volunteers. Thank you to my inspirations to run strong and from the heart: my friends, my athletes, and my boys. I’m so appreciative to my sponsors for their belief in me, support and superior products that keep me running happy and looking good.

I can’t say I’m looking forward to running L2O 100k at this point lol, but as brutal as Corbett is it is beautiful too, so I am looking forward to that aspect. I am extremely pleased with how my body performed yesterday in some tough conditions terrain wise. I will take that confidence into the Keys and then when it comes time to run on water again.

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Photo Credit: @onyourleftplease