April 12th & 13th 2024

50 Mile | Marathon | TS Half

Something to Talk About

Trail Sisters Seattle Co-Leader, Andrea Castro, joined when her family relocated to Washington in May 2022. She is an attorney for a law office in San Diego and works remotely. Andrea has been married to her husband, Ben, for nearly 29 years and they have three adorable fur babies, Arthur, Rosalind, and Ginsburg. Andrea is a long-time road runner, and fairly new to trail running.

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Christine Soskins, 43, a long-time hiker and runner of road and trail races, joined Trail Sisters Seattle when she relocated from the Los Angeles area to Washington in October 2021. On a whim, the adventurous Christine did her first 24-hour event in March 2022 to see what it was like and how many miles she could log. She was hooked! Motivated by long-term goals, Christine decided that it would be an interesting challenge to run a 24-hour race in each state before her fiftieth birthday. To date, she has completed a dozen 24-hour races and has run 100 miles in two. While on her way to completing her goal of 24/50/50, Christine continues to strongly represent women in ultra-running events.

I met Christine at a Trail Sisters group run in December 2022. When I asked her “are you training for a race?”, I was not expecting to hear of her lofty 24/50/50 goal. I was intrigued, and have been following, Christine’s journey ever since. I have learned so much about Christine and her 24-hour race adventures during each of our trail runs over a span of one year. I asked Christine if she would share her story with other Trail Sisters; and she graciously agreed. Below are just a few of the many burning questions fellow Trail Sisters had for Christine about her 24/50/50.

The why – What is your motivation?

Ultimately, this goal is arbitrary, and secondary to my underlying desire to enjoy myself, explore new places, and spend time with inspiring people. These are more important to me than ticking a box for completing a specific workout or if I don’t perform my best at a race because I did 50 miles the prior weekend with friends.

Do you have a roadmap to achieve your goal?

I need to race about 6 each year to meet my deadline in late 2030. This would give me 10/11 months to complete the final 2 races and any additional races that I did not get in prior. I try to stagger my races to every other month, but it depends on race availability and my schedule. In 2024, I plan to do Nevada in February; Virginia in April; Montana in June; Oregon in August; and Maine in September. I’m still deciding on a race to close out the year.

How do you select a race?

I love planning and playing with logistics. Ultrarunning.com has an extensive calendar of races which you can sort and filter (by distance, date, location, and other criteria). If a state has just one or two races in it, it’s a matter of slotting those races into my schedule. When a state has a few options for races, I have more flexibility with selection. If all factors align, it’s nice to spend a little time in town before and/or after the race to sightsee—going to museums, hiking, animal sanctuaries, seeing friends, etc.

How do you train for a 24-hour race?

I keep my training flexible and fun. In addition to strength training, I vary my days with solo hikes/runs; running with a friend; and group hikes/runs. I also mix up the locations, local and out of state. My local trail is Dash Point in Tacoma, WA (a bit south of Seattle), but I love traveling and being on a trail pretty much anywhere. I did a solo hiking trip in Texas in February 2023, completing the 96-mile Lone Star Trail.

Do you have a coach?

Yes, I started working with a coach in December 2022. However, I was not working with a coach for the 24-hour races that I have completed. When I started in 2022, I consulted SWAP’s (http://swaprunning.com/) 100-mile training calendar for general guidance. About four months after setting the goal, a former coach designed an 8-week schedule which I could reuse. It was an excellent schedule, but I recently realized that what I do puts a lot of wear on my body, and I would benefit from real-time guidance and feedback. I’m looking forward to what my new coach has to offer.

What is your race strategy for a 24-hour race?

I go into each event with a race plan to run 100 miles in 24 hours. I try to maintain an all-day pace the entire time. Necessarily, at the start of a race, that will be a lot faster than at the end. I want to take advantage of energy and motivation whenever I have them. Each course is different, but it’s usually a loop. I breakdown the course to find the most efficient way to complete the loop. For example, if there is a hill or a steep incline, I will power hike it each time no matter how good I’m feeling. Whether it’s running or walking, keeping moving is critical. It is challenging to get going again once I stop that I try to only do it when I’m up against a wall—whether that’s because my feet are throbbing, because I cannot keep my eyes open, or because my motivation has hit a nadir.

Efficiency is key—so much time can be wasted due to poor organization and lack of foresight. I plan ahead (one or two loops at a time, depending on the length of the loop) to make each stop as productive as possible (e.g., it’s better to stop once to go the bathroom, grab food, and grab a headlamp than to make three separate stops). I have my gear organized and remember where items are so I can quickly access what I need.

Do you sleep during a 24-hour race?

No, but I napped once for 30 minutes during the race in Idaho because I was barely able to walk straight. It is not often, but if I have to sit or lay down I try to limit it to 10 minutes at a time. I try to keep my mind occupied and maintain healthy distractions to keep me going. I talk with other runners and I’ve had phone dates with friends. If my husband has made the trip with me, he will usually walk some portion with me. If I am not talking with anyone, I am listening to a podcast. Often, I zone out and don’t pay much attention to them, but I like the background noise.

What do you like most about running a 24-hour race?

Of course, having the ease of support and refueling — no need for a vest to carry all hydration and nutrition (I do carry minimal nutrition of ~200 calories on me, just in case) and the opportunity to chat with people over an extended period of time. But it would have to be getting to know a course and seeing how a course changes over the course of the day; the mountains in Utah at sunrise were amazing!

What is your advice for someone who is thinking about doing a 24-hour race?

There is nothing magic about putting one foot in front of the other repeatedly. While it’s simple, it’s not easy. The 24-hour loop formats are a great arena to test gear and to push yourself safely. Just try it. You will be surprised how much you have in you. You will be impressed by the others in the race with you.

Christine’s goal of 24/50/50 and her achievements thus far are no doubt impressive. However, what struck me most was Christine’s unassuming manner about her goal as well as her achievements. Ahead of this article, I knew Christine had finished twelve 24-hour races, and that she completed 100 miles in two. We had discussed her races in great detail during our trail runs. What Christine did not share publicly or privately were all of her placements in the 24-hour races. I only learned of her numerous achievements for this article (courtesy of UltraSignup). What I also learned is that Christine’s goal of 24/50/50 is a perfect long-term goal for her as it requires meticulous planning, preparation, and execution along with a zest for adventure. Undoubtedly, she will achieve her goal since that is what Christine Soskins embodies. Go Christine!

Summary/highlights of Christine’s 24-hour races

  1. Pacific Rim One Day Run – Longview, Washington on March 19, 2022 (91 miles); OA: 11 / DP: 3
  2. Alaska Endurance Trail Run – Fairbanks North Star, Alaska on June 3, 2022 (79.5 miles); OA: 3 / DP: 3
  3. American Heroes Run – Longmont, Colorado on September 9, 2022 (88.2 miles); OA: 1 / DP: 1
  4. The Ultimate Unicorn – Provo, Utah on October 14, 2022 (76 miles); OA: 6 / DP: 4
  5. Across the Years – Phoenix, Arizona on December 31, 2022 (85.916 miles); OA: 21/ DP: 3
  6. Angela Ivory Memorial Run – Felton, Delaware on January 28, 2023 (87.8 miles); OA: 2 / DP: 1
  7. Pulse Endurance Runs – Eagle, Idaho on March 17, 2023 (79.520 miles); OA: 10 / DP: 5
  8. O24 – Kirkland, Ohio on April 29, 2023 (100.244 miles); OA: 10 / DP: 3
  9. FANS Ultra Races – Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 3, 2023 (85.13 miles); OA: 11 / DP: 4
  10. Anchor Down Ultra – Bristol, Rhode Island on August 11, 2023 (75.95 miles); OA: 31 / DP: 8
  11. Bear Lake Ultra – Lapeer, Michigan on October 7, 2023 (80.6 miles); OA: 11 / DP: 4
  12. Azalea – Palatka, Florida on November 4, 2023 (100 miles); OA: 4 / DP:2

About the Author

Trail Sisters Seattle Co-Leader, Andrea Castro, joined when her family relocated to Washington in May 2022. She is an attorney for a law office in San Diego and works remotely. Andrea has been married to her husband, Ben, for nearly 29 years and they have three adorable fur babies, Arthur, Rosalind, and Ginsburg. Andrea is a long-time road runner, and fairly new to trail running.

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