Run Natural Coach Blogspot

Run Natural Coach Blogspot


by Dawn Lisenby on 01/05/18

I am excited to share with all of you my being named a 2018 INKnBURN ambassador!  After having the opportunity to run in INKnBURN, due to their generously supplying their athlete Grant Maughan’s Badwater crew with several kits EACH this summer, I fell in LOVE with the feel and fit, not to mention, the look of their apparel.

I find it especially cool that
all their designs are limited edition.  They make everything start to finish in one warehouse in Southern California so they have a limited production capacity. 

Additionally, they apply their art by hand to each panel of their amazing feeling performance fabric before sewing.  (For one shirt that is 6 pieces of fabric!)  They then use a process of heat and pressure that allows their art to stain the fibers of the fabric so you can't feel it and it doesn't fade, crack or peel. However their performance fabrics still feel silky cool, wick away moisture and breathe as they were intended to do.

Once the art has been applied to the fabric pieces, sewing is next in the process. 
Almost every seam in their tech shirts is sewn twice to ensure strength and also to ensure the seams are flat to prevent chafing or rubbing. Which is of utmost importantance to an ultra runner!!  Matter of fact all their styles are tested on ultra runners at extreme distances. They actually rely on feedback from ultrarunners to test the limits of their performance clothing in extreme conditions and high mileage.

Lastly, they design for people that don't feel the need to blend in with the crowd.  In their own words:  " We want to make clothing you love so much that it inspires you to do your laundry more often so you can wear it more.  We want to be the company that puts a smile on your face when you put on our clothes and others smile when they see you wearing them.  We want to make the clothing you reach for when you want to defy expectations, set PRs, and accomplish your dreams." 

I think it is very easy to see why I LOVE INKnBURN, not just for their amazing apparel, but for the ethos of the company and the way they approach making their product.  If you want to "feel the INKnBURN difference" for yourself check out their one of a kind designs here Be sure to sign up for their newsletter
so they can notify you as soon as a new design launches! When a design sells out, it is gone! You don't want to miss out!

An Ancient Oaks 100 Finish with Thanks to My Ultra Family!

by Dawn Lisenby on 01/05/18

What can I say...I like my 100’s to be extra challenging! But doing AO 100 10 weeks post Grindstone may be taking things a bit too far. ?? From the beginning my legs just had nothing. I kept thinking they would come around after a few more miles, as sometimes after 10-20 they begin to loosen up, but they just never did.

I figured it was the Grindstone elevation still sitting in them and resigned myself to a training run of 50k, if lucky 50 miles, as I knew my friend Michael was coming to run 20 or so miles with me. But when he showed up saying he wanted to get 50 overnight miles in as a training run, I could not disappoint him and was determined to carry on come what may! I was so glad I did, as we had SO much fun talking, and navigating the roots/sand together. It really was a most wonderful night. Thank you Michael so much!

The last 21 became a struggle. Compounded by an already aggravated calf strain from Grindstone, that reared its head once again 2 weeks prior and required my walking all soft sand sections of course from the beginning. It most likely is to blame for my spraining my ankle going into the last 10 miles, making it a suffer fest of epic proportions. But I was determined to get my finish, being so close to it and coming that far.

I have never gone to such a dark place to get a race done, literally collapsing into a chair at the finish. I was barely able to stand up, let alone make it to my car, because as soon as I finished I could not bear any weight at all on my ankle. It is crazy what adrenaline will do.

After being assisted there, I tried to lay down, as was so tired. But then I realized the two runners I coach would be coming in shortly for their FIRST 100 mile finish, which I wanted to see. I drove over to the start, where once again I was assisted out of the car into a chair. I was so very proud, happy and inspired by seeing Ivana and Maya run strong to the finish, on a tough day, that included 33 DNFs and only 22 finishes! And to get to spend time on course with both of these very incredible ladies! 

I went into this race solo due to my best crew gal, Carla getting sick race week.
But the ultra community never let me feel so. To Scott assisting me during the day to fill my bladder or get ice. To Brandice; running a most FUN loop with me, changing batteries, and driving me home, when due to my ankle I could not drive. As well as, loading my van up at race AND unloading it for me when I got home! Conspicuously Bruce was not around for this. ??. Although he did offer much encouragement and laughs throughout the day.

To my beautiful, inside and out, gal Darlene that I got to run 2 cherished laps with. A VERY bright spot in my day. To Matthew who carried me to and out of my car and loaded it, cracking me up the entire time. To Tamiya, who although I never let help with my lube as he offered many times LOL, did give much needed and appreciated shoulder massages. To my sweet Julie and CB Pops for their continual words of encouragement and inspiration they provided on course watching them achieve distance pr’s. To a Heather and Tim sighting, words and hugs that boosted me BIG time!

To Christiañ for his lending me a bladder and example on course of fighting through to get a badass finish! To giving/receiving motivation on course from my ULTRA idols; Jeff, Andy, Jim, and Bernadette. To sharing a enjoyable lap with Mike, whom I never have talked with before, but was super impressed by him gutting it out to the finish.

To the amazing volunteers; Lynsey, Michael,Jeff, Tony and Juan; for staying up all night, your cheers EVERY lap and help. With Juan even, out of his own volition, running food out to me on course multiple times! You are a gem! 

Lastly, to the man, Mike Melton, who I have come to LOVE spending time with over the years, as I watched him encourage many a runner over a finish line at my races. I was so excited to finally get my chance for him to do so for me, with that smile and his unique way, to a 29:35 finish. Making me the 6th OA female out of 14. Thanks to my sponsors for always helping me finish strong in style!

The enchanted forest is not just so because of the splendor of it’s TOUGH course, but because of a community that gathers there once a year to encourage others to achieve what few do. I will forevermore be there to support it, as it truly it is a special place and AO 100 a most special race.

Finding the Finish at Grindstone 100!

by Dawn Lisenby on 11/08/17

Heading into Grindstone I had one goal and one goal only… to get my finish in order to enter the Hardrock lottery. This was no easy task as the relentless uphill and downhill of this course tore up my legs! This made the last 20 miles of the race, over large rock, in the rain and thick fog death-defying primarily due to my quads not cooperating AT ALL, which resulted in my nearly going over the ridge line many times. The only thing to do was to slow down to ensure I got what I came for and did not end up down the side of a mountain.

For those of you who like stats, the odds were not in my favor. Of 237 starters only 28 were women, showing you not many females take on this course. 183 runners reached the finish, with 46 DNFS. Of the 28 women 22 finished  with me being the oldest amongst them by 5 years! I think I am most proud of this. Full results can be found here

Also not in my favor is the course being 102 miles long with 46,000 feet of elevation change, and me being a flatlander from Florida . Day before the race the cold I had been evading for 1.5 weeks, that my boys had, finally got me...pretty sure I was running a fever during the prerace meeting. This left me unable to sleep the night before the race due to congestion , which meant three nights of no sleep. As a female I was at a place in my monthly cycle not optimal for racing which is not good for performance. I also had a personal family issue weighing on my shoulders, which left me a bit spent emotionally.

I share all of this is to convey the old adage "you are only as good as your crew". LOL  While that is VERY true, and I am most indebted to both Omer and Carla for helping me achieve my goal, it is also to say "You can do more than you think you can". And the mind is one HELL of a powerful ally when running 100 miles.

I really should not have finished this race. But I never let myself believe, even with all the odds stacked against me, that I could not. I am so thankful to my crew, and strength of mind, to have done so. I really feel I can do anything now if I set my mind to it. Watch out here I come!

Thanks to Omer for keeping me from doing so multiple times through one long night of ups and downs...figuratively and literally. I can not think of a better person to have been by my side those last 35 miles. His quiet assurance gave me confidence and strength when it was sorely needed and my goal looked in doubt. I really had the dynamic duo helping me, with my best gal, Carla, assisting him in keeping me moving for MANY hours strong, and her pacing me from the turn around to 65.

In addition to those two integral components many other thanks are due for my goal coming to fruition. Thanks to Malu for running with me through the night. Congrats to her on her strong finish and masters win! She has always inspired me, but after spending the night running/ talking with her, even more so. What a lady! Thanks to her crew, and my friend, Chris Thompson for assisting mine and his words of encouragement.

Thanks to Chris "G-Money" for meeting me at the 50 mile turn around in THE shirt and his awesome smile. It REALLY lifted my spirits.

Thanks to Eric Can't Stop Law for his words of advice both before, at the start, and on course. That you came back to do this race again AND finished it in the constant rain (whereas I only had it for last 30) last year has me even more in awe of you as an athlete.

Thanks to one of the nicest guys I know, my friend David, for driving not a short time from a family wedding in Va to see me off at the start. Your " warrior women" moniker came to mind several times when I stopped believing in myself. As did those of many of you who gave me advice leading into the race, especially regarding my poles, they were a life saver.

Thanks to my sponsors for products that are second to none. Lemon-Lime Skratch (for 37 hours 30 minutes!) and real food did not let me down. Trail Toes helped my feet look so good that it prompted one AS volunteer to say I had beautiful feet at mile 78.  ILOVEULTRARUNNING had me kitted up like a champ, as per usual.

Thanks to my boys for the inspiration and cheers they provide their mom in these CRAZY endeavors she takes on.

Thanks to Clark Zealand, the Grindstone RD for his well done, beast of a race; his awesome volunteers; and old school vibe.

Finally, thanks to all of you for caring about my adventures and sharing yours with me. I really do LOVE ultrarunning! And my SHINY new BOOtiful buckle!! I think I like 100's YES I do.
#ultra #100bucklebaby #grindstone100 #totemkiss #atthefinish #myroadto #hardrock100 #dreambig #seizeitliveit #ultragal #ultrarunner #ultrarace #skratchlabs #trailtoes #tomboyskincare #purultrarunning #iloveultrarunning

L2O 100k-I Got My Damn Buoy!!

by Dawn Lisenby on 06/16/17

I have never been so scared of or beat up by a race before as L2O 100k. The navigation and terrain require constant vigilance that wears you down physically and mentally over 62 miles. Then you add in the heat and humidity of this time of year, and cover more than half the course in water, and well for me it adds up to an ass kicking.

I had a plan of hitting 4-5 miles an hour depending on course conditions. Early on I tried to stay within sight of someone as was so worried to get lost but realized to do so was not to run my race. And if I was going to run I needed to do my thing and not rely on others to guide me. I did get lost, a few times the first 50k, but only minimally.

Just when I was about to hit a low spot I decided to call my friend Omer to ask about a course change that was made due to rain. He told me he was just ahead and would wait for me. And just like that we were together again for the remaining 40 miles as we were last year. I can't thank him enough for his guidance, encouragement and pushing me when I did not think I had anything left. I really could not imagine it any other way.

As we ran together at mid day the heavy rain began and would not let up till early evening. We also had to navigate a lot of water on the back half of the course but despite it all we maintained a steady forward motion and our sense of humor. Even after I took a nasty fall that could have been game over with 4 miles out when in the dark my leg fell through a hole up to my hip on a concrete bridge. I gots some nice souvenirs from that detour.

Finally, we popped out on the last section and ran to the beach with a goal of going sub 16. Nothing ever felt so good as jumping in the ocean (pic is post) and knowing that this time I had earned that DAMN BUOY! As a bonus I finished 3 rd overall female in a time of 15:53. Much improved over my 18:30 unofficial finish of last year.

I so appreciate all of you who followed along, cheered me along the course and cared about this journey for me. It is a deeply emotional one after what I have been through since this race last year. As I told my rock star crew "I should not have even finished this race but with your keeping me running strong and laughing through all the miles I did. I dont have to tell you all what a treasure the Thompsons are. They are a top notch crew and humans that I am so very grateful wanted to spend their weekend caring for this girl. I told Julie as she was tucking my wrecked body into bed last night. I did not think I could love you all anymore than I did, but I do. 

Congrats to my fellow runners on the course, you were amazing. This is a special race and finishing it is no small feat. Thank you Jeff Stephens for bringing this torture to us and congrats on your finish. It was really great to run some miles with you. FINALLY, thanks to my sponsors and family for supporting my crazy passion that without, I would not be me.

#L2O100k #LaketoOceanTrail #bestcreweva #ittakesavillage #missionaccomplished #redemption #teamgoldilocks #buoyorbust #mybodyhurts #runner #ultrarunner #ultragal #ultrarace #ultracommunity #purultrarunning #skratchlabs #trailtoes #tomboyskincare #iloveultrarunning

Keys 50k-Back to the Races at My Favorite Place!

by Dawn Lisenby on 06/16/17

Finished Keys 50k- 11th overall, 6th female and first in my age group at 6:08:08. I am ecstatic to say the least after having been away from racing an ultra since last years Keys 50.

Really felt solid all day with my nutrition, as well as physically, to hit my goal of 5 miles per hour with even splits. As always at the Keys the heat must be managed or you will falter. I was aided in that department, incredibly well, by my best gal who is now seasoned at crewing here. She was always waiting with what I needed so I never had to stop. Then was by my side the last 5 miles to keep me moving strong when I was attempting to maintain a lead over another competitor. I can not thank her enough for her helping me to achieve this result.

It does take a village and I truly appreciate the support of mine, from the products that keep me running happy, to the people who cheer me on. Focused now on recovery in anticipation of some more FUN, ultra style, at L2O 100k in 2 weeks.
#Keys #10thanni #ultra #race #run #along #clear #blue #sea #strong #runner #ultrarunner #ultragal #ultrarace #ultracommunity #ultrafine #ultravibe #purultrarunning #iloveultrarunning #trailtoes #skratchlabs #tomboyskincare

Back to a Start Line @ Torreya 25k!

by Dawn Lisenby on 04/16/17

After seven long months of not feeling the thrill of a race day I was ecstatic to do so April 8th at Torreya 25k.  The day began with the greeting of friends and my favorite running conditions of a cold, clear day.  It ended with my to do list being complete!  Spend the day on a beautiful trail...check. Experience Joe Edgecombe's amazing Torreya 50k/25k's ...check. Put my ZERO hill trained body/ injury to the test on a course with 2300 ft of elevation....check. Share some laughs/convo with my fav group of people....thank you Heather, Andrea, Danielle and David .....check. Finish 10th female OA, 12 minutes off first Masters with legs trashed from bombing some sick descents and a smile on my face...check. And my final item...celebrate a finish by drinking my trophy....Beer Camp Golden IPA....check.  This race is one not to be missed. Incredible in every way. Almost don't want to let the secret out. I will be back for the 50k next year...trained and ready! 

Now onto my next start.... Corbett 18 miler on April 22nd.  Decided to join the fun surely to be had there and ...get my L2O training on! Looking forward to seeing many of my favorite people and the beautiful tropical terrain course affords.  So grateful to be out there and able to do what I LOVE!! 

It has been a long road back from an injury from a fall sustained while trail running in October 2015 then made worse by racing through it during Spring of 2016 and misdiagnosis.....multiple times!  I am glad to finally be in the care of a knowledgeable and caring professional who took the time to really figure out what was going on with me and get me back to running PAIN FREE.  I also began to lean more on all the experience I have had rehabbing runners back from injury and poor care.  And to LISTEN to my body.  Something I train all my athletes to do but have not done enough of myself.

Excited to be back to a start and looking forward to others later this spring at Keys and L2O.  It will be a gradual progression back to allow my body to continue healing and adapt to the increased demands that racing requires on it.  See you at the races!  Happy Running!!!

2017 is here! How will you make your mark on it?

by Dawn Lisenby on 01/12/17

Personally I grow tired of hearing people say "new year, new you" as the truth of the matter is even though it is 2017 you are still you. :)  I would rather my clients look at the new year as an opportunity before them.  With goals set; a plan to achieve them, constructed by an experienced coach; a lot of discipline and perseverance to follow through; and a bit of GRIT, they will succeed...99.9 percent guaranteed!  (Dr. Suess is a favorite of mine).  And so that is why I always start the year off by asking all my clients to construct three goals for the new year.  If you do not set them, you can not realize them. 
With that said I would like to share my personal goals as an athlete for 2017.  First, and foremost to honor being a member of the Dsquad and get a finishers medal at the 10th Anniversary of the Breast Cancer Marathon.  This just may involve running 84 miles before hand, but that is another story completely.  Second, I would like to compete in the Keys 50 and improve upon my performance of last year, and maybe come away with a most coveted Keys trophy at the 10th anniversary event.  Third, I would like to finally qualify for Hardrock which I will attempt in the fall at Grindstone 100. 
Of course to achieve these big goals there are a lot of little goals that must be followed through with along the way.  Such as: good nutrition, both in life and racing; consistent strength work to maintain an injury free body; and staying balanced towards training and other commitments in my life. I impress this on my clients as well.
I am thankful to my sponsors, athletes, supporters and family for their continual support of me both as a race director, coach and athlete.  Here is to making OUR mark on 2017.  I look forward to helping you do so either as; your coach, your supporter at a finish line of one of my races, or a friend/fan of  yours!  Happy Trails!!

The Keys 50: It Does Get Better!

by Dawn Lisenby on 05/29/16

They say it usually always gets better....I told myself that a lot today. From the very beginning of the race I knew it was going to be a battle with the heat as it was difficult to keep my heart rate down and body felt a bit off. The heat index reached into the 100's by midday. I felt the heat right away with a 10 am start. The RD said it was the hottest year ever. I adjusted my expectations/pace early on when I knew to not would risk a blowup.  I practiced staying in the mile, keeping a steady pace, and just staying cool thanks to Carla's critical and most amazing crewing skills. I finally started to feel better at mile 40, just when I was about to give up hope that the whole race would be a struggle. No coincidence I am sure that is when Carla joined me to run me in. In the last 10 miles we passed multiple runners and I had my eyes on the prize. If I could not get my time goal, I wanted to finish top ten women so I was extremely happy to end up EIGHTH OVERALL in the race.

Truly thrilled with how my race ended up and results of being: in the top 8, of which only 1 was male; only 35 min off top masters female; 2nd in AG; with a time of 11 hours, on what is now officially the hottest Keys race ever.  Full results can be seen at

I did not hit my time goal of going under 10 hrs but that just gives me something to shoot for when I go back in 2017. Thinking though maybe I will run the is such a gorgeous course. ?? ?

Thanks again to my best gal. Who I told 20 miles out "I could not do this without you, nor would I want to". And thanks to my sponsors who keep me running ?? and strong. ?#?keys50? ???? ?#?trailtoes? #?endurenenjoy? ?#?pearlizumirun? ?#?skratchlabs? ?#?BOCOgear? ?#?smilethruthesuffering?

Directionally challenged at the Corbett 50k.

by Dawn Lisenby on 05/29/16

Corbett 50k did not disappoint either in quality of trail or people who were there. What did were my navigation skills not even just on trail but to the race. I ended up in my nightmare scenario where you show up with 5 min till race start. After driving for an hour and half to find the race a trip to porta potty was a necessity and then we were off. Thanks to Jennifer Magill for bringing my number to me and helping me to get on my way w pins n ipod.

Then just when I thought I could relax and focus on racing after a discombobulated start I realized in my rush I had left my handheld w Skratch electrolyte in my car. At that point it was lose 2 miles or continue on with out it ...I chose the latter. My strategy was to get thru 15 mi loop as fast as possible to get back to my hydration and while was overcast. I had my fruit chews n just did those with water and an S cap at midway. I was feeling great after 7 miles and cruising the trails as first female. Thankfully I had preloaded with Skratch Hyper on way to race and am sure it helped me run strong finishing first 15 in 2:35. Despite getting lost twice!

After first loop I ran to car and got handheld. I was beginning to feel depleted and with sun coming out in full force pretty hot and was sweating a lot. I tried to down as much as I could but with almost 4 miles between aid stations on first loop and just water it did not cut it. The wheels came off around 20, when I lost lead and was passed by the amazing Stephanie idol!

The last 10 miles was extremely painful in a way I have never experienced as mechanically I was sound but was just spent energy wise. I now know what a depletion run feels like and I can say I don't ever want to feel that again. It is THE only race I have ever really wanted to quit. That I did not I am proud of as it took all my will not to. Even with all my comedy of errors I still came away with a respectable time of 6:16 on a tough course footing wise and on our first hot day. I also managed to hold on to finish 2nd female and 4th overall.

I gained a lot of confidence in my fitness for Keys 50 as if I can pull off this finish when I had nothing in the tank and on legs full of training miles then I feel good for my chances to do a solid time there.

Thanks to the wonderful volunteers Trevor and Jamie Woyton, CB Pops Thompson, Tamiya Thompson, Julie Thompson, Eric Hulboj and Jennifer Carvallo for taking care of me during the race n at finish. Guy Rock for his most delicious food and smile!

And what a rockstar finish line it was with so many fun people to laugh and share stories with from the day. So good to chat with the inspiring ladies: Malika, Carla , Lara, Sandra, Samantha, Sally, and Renee. Glad to witness awesome finishes by Bob Becker, Jeff Stephens, and
Ron Hines. And sharing a most delicious beer...and lol with Tim, Heather, Darlene A and Mark Cudak....was priceless. This is what it is all about matter the results it is the people that bring us back for more for sure. As I swore off ultras at least 5 x during the race ??.

Finally thanks to the most incomparable RD, Christiañ Stewart for putting on a race that has that old school vibe ... that as Heather C said to me "is what got me into this whole thing in the first place". It starts with you, my friend! Congrats on putting on a terrific race. I definitely plan to see you on the real course next year. ?????? ?#?corbett50k? ?#?trailtoes?
?#?endurenenjoy? ?#?skratchlabs? ?#?BOCOGear?

Speed Work at the Challenge 5k!

by Dawn Lisenby on 01/28/16

Ooo Wee...5ks hurt! Give me a 50 miler any day. ?? Came back to the Challenge 5k trail race this am to defend my overall title from last year and was race I had dedicated to my Dad. Fell short of overall female title but came away with masters win and 3rd female, 17th overall in a large field with a time of 26:16....17 secs off last year! This is a beast of a course called the "roller coaster"... but is so much fun. Three weeks post 100k and a difficult week personally ...I will take it! Glad to be able to sport my new 2016 Pearl Izumi Champion team jersey for the race. . ?#?lifeisgood? ?#?formydad? ?#?trailove? ?#?endureandenjoy? ?#?trailtoes? ?#?skratchlabs?

Thoughts & Info To Share
Photo Credit: Carla Cellini