04/22/15

How’s Your Body Image?

The Perfect Body - The One Your In!

The Perfect Body – The One You’re In!

I went shopping for some new bras and panties yesterday.  As I stood in front of the full length mirror in the JCPenney dressing room wearing only my jeans and a bra I looked at myself under the florescent lights and several thoughts crossed my mind. I look thicker, bigger than I wish I did. My stomach with it’s loose, wrinkly skin makes me feel shame instead of pride, even though the stretch marks and loose skin are a reminder that I carried five of the most perfect babies in the world there.  My upper arms are flabby and lack any muscle tone. My breasts are too large and my waist is too big. I’m too short and muscular. I’m  5 foot 2 1/2 and I weigh about 123 lbs. Height and weight charts say I’m healthy and normal, but I still struggle with my negative thoughts when I see myself in a mirror and often find myself stamping the image with a “Not good enough!”

If you could go back in time to another dressing room about 8 years go, when I was about 80 lbs heavier and could read my mind, you’d find the exact same types of criticisms happening. And, if I could go back even further to my 115 lb high school self, standing in the Shopko dressing room where my mom worked, you’d surprisingly hear the exact same things! It got me to thinking about this problem that many women and girls face in the US with negative body image. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why can’t we look at the exact same reflection in the mirror and acknowledge all the wonderful, praise-worthy things we see? The powerful quads, the beautiful, shapely curves, the healthy body that has the energy and ability to run and play with the five cutest kids on the planet or run a marathon or ultra?

I used to think that “If only I could lose this weight, I’d be happy!” That might be the biggest surprise after weight loss. The same mental baggage you had as a heavy person is still with you as a thinner one. I think it takes the same kinds of self-discipline and training that we do to lose weight to retrain our thinking and learn to accept ourselves, flabby tummy skin and all! 🙂

I saw a sign repeatedly at my last 100 mile race that simply stated, “Every step is a gift.” It is! I have family members and friends who aren’t able to run at all. What they wouldn’t give to have the chance to run a race again with healthy joints and stamina? My body is such a treasure, a wonderful tool, that functions well. I want to change my thinking patterns. I have five children with a variety of body types.  They are all healthy, strong and beautiful! I’d like to start retraining my thinking so that I’m a positive example to all of them about self-acceptance and confidence – no matter what my size!

There was a show on Netflix that my daughters and I watched over the summer called Drop Dead Diva. It was about a dimwitted but beautiful model who got into a car wreck and died but then when she got to heaven she pushed the ‘Return’ button and came back — in someone else’s plus-size body!  What I enjoyed about the show was watching the plus size actress strut around smiling, flirting and being entirely happy in her new shoes.  She was fun to watch because confidence is the most attractive asset of all and she was bursting with it! She was happy with herself and I’d say the character, Jane, is the kind of gal I’d like to be too — happy in my own skin no matter what the scale says!

I want to be like Jane!

I want to be like Jane!

My friend, Rachael shared this video today of a personal trainer who was being criticized for her body and her video response is genius and really drives home the point that even if others criticize our bodies, ultimately, it doesn’t matter one bit. We need to choose to accept ourselves first. That really is the only person’s opinion of you that you need – so make it a good one! 🙂

Watch the video and I think you’ll agree. Then hold up your head and remember to count your blessings and be thankful for being YOU – no matter what your size!

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18463/trainer-cassey-ho-photoshops-herself-to-send-message-about-body-shaming.html

04/6/15

4th 100 Complete! Onto an Exciting Spring Racing Season!

Pickled Feet Jr and Wayne

Last week, my son, Wayne Jr (14) and my husband and I competed in one of our favorite local races – the Pickled Feet 6/12/24 hr/100 mile/48 hour race at Eagle Island, which is less than 45 minutes from our home in Boise and directed by a couple of our favorite pals who are exceptionally well organized, ultra runners themselves. The race is a timed event with one amazing aid station (that serves lots of delicious real food like grilled cheese, potato soup and bacon), access to an actual bathroom and involves running a 2.5 mile dirt, trail loop repeatedly to earn your goal mileage.   I’ve either volunteered or ran this event each year it’s been in existence and just love the camaraderie, the positive mood of the other runners and the volunteers and the beautiful views of the trees, the water and the gorgeous stars in the middle of the nights.

My two buddies, Tate and Frank recreated a photo from 2012 before our first 100 mile race. It brought good luck again. We all buckled!

My two buddies, Tate and Frank recreated a photo from 2012 before our first 100 mile race. It brought good luck again. We all buckled!

Last year, Jr (then 13) and Wayne each hit the 100k mark for the first time in the 48  hour event, which was really exciting! They were both determined this year to beat that distance and had a high-reach goal of hitting their first 100 milers, despite their determination to do so without any real training (they claim this is more brag-worthy.)  They are positive thinkers and I support that and really hoped they’d hit their goal distance! But, I told them they were on their own this time since I, too, wanted to join in the fun and race this time, so I signed up for the 100 mile race (with a 32 hour time limit) and we all looked forward to having some fun at the race!

It really was a great time, too! Each year so many friends come out to participate or volunteer and we always come away with some great stories (and new friends as well!) This year was no different. Wayne and Jr each bested their last distance and hit 65 miles and I completed my 4th 100 about an hour and a half before the cut offs, which was nice. Surprisingly, of the 23 who started the 100 mile race, only 13 finished! I think the temptation to take naps or dilly dally at the wonderful aid station makes it a bit harder to keep your mental focus at times on the clock that is still ticking. I know I succommed to two relaxing naps, which is something I never do during a 100, but it was just so tempting seeing my tent set up right alongside the route with my comfy cot and blankets inside. There was also a big windstorm on Saturday morning that blew a couple of the tents into a nearby ditch. The three members of my family were all in our tent when it hit and we held down the fort (literally) for half an hour before deciding to just disassemble everything and pack it all into our SUV, which took another 45 minutes.  The storm passed, though and we were able to jump back into the race and keep on going, which was nice. That did mean I had to suddenly give full focus to the race, though, since I still had 30 miles to go and about 9 1/2 hours to do it in. All turned out well, though.

Our family after tearing down the tent during a crazy windstorm. We look like hobos!

Our family after tearing down the tent during a crazy windstorm. We look like hobos!

There are always highlight moments in these things and for me, the best moments were those spend doing laps with my teenage son (who is now a couple inches taller than me!) He (and his siblings) are the joy of my life and getting to spend those special times with my son, looking up at the stars and just talking and laughing will be memories I’ll take with me the rest of my life as he continues to grow up and need me a bit less. We bonded a little extra and that’s something I will treasure.  My parents also showed up about half way through the race and I was so excited to see them! This is my first ultra they’ve been to and seeing them cheering and holding up signs with my name really touched my heart (and made me run faster so I could tell everyone I passed, “Hey! My parents are here!! Woo hooo”

My sweet Mom with her sign! My Dad took several photos and chatted with my friends which was really awesome too!

My sweet Mom with her sign! My Dad took several photos and chatted with my friends which was really awesome too!

 

My final lap was spent with my husband, who was wearing a red and black tutu, which made everyone (including me) smile, despite our sore feet.  I was tired. He was tired and we held hands and walked slowly finishing up the race, which was fun.

So, what’s next for me? Wayne and I are directing our 3rd race of the year for our company Final Kick Events, later this week. Lake Lowell Marathon is the race that started it all back in 2011. It’s amazing to think this will be our 5th Lake Lowell! The time went by fast! This is also the first time I’ll get to actually run Lake Lowell Marathon, which is pretty special.  My legs are still a bit fatigued from my 314 mile month in March (which included a 50 mile pacing gig at the Buffalo Run helping my good friend, Seth reach his first 100 mile finish, which was awesome), and the 100 miler at Pickled Feet on consecutive weekends.  I am aiming for a BQ this year and really want to go back to Boston, but this race will most likely be more of a training run and I’ll aim for qualifying at the Potato on May 30th instead.  I do have a couple more fun things happening in the interim, too! Next weekend, I’ll do the Race for Robie Creek, the half marathon I grew up watching my Mom and Aunt Sheila do several times.  I have ran it twice and volunteered a few times, but this year I decided to go ahead and see if I can finally break 2 hours there (a goal tougher than it sounds since the first 8.4 miles are uphill!) My PR there is from way back in 2010 with a time of 2:25. Pretty sure I’ve gotten a little faster since then – but we shall see! 😀

The really big news for this spring is that I’m heading to Denmark next month to run the Copenhagen Marathon and visit my childhood friend Rikke who was an exchange student at my high school when I was a sophomore. I’m so very excited to spend time with her and soak up the beauty of her gorgeous country (and then come home and blog all about it!) 😀 Running the Copenhagen Marathon will be an especially fun way to really soak in the sights of the city and I can’t wait!!

I can't wait to run around beautiful, scenic Denmark!

I can’t wait to run around beautiful, scenic Denmark!

 

 

11/6/14

Javelina Jundred – A Birthday Buckle!

Boston and a Belt Buckle - My dream came true!

Boston and a Belt Buckle – My dream came true!

 

Boston and a Belt Buckle. That’s been the dream for a long time. I ran Boston in April, just 4 weeks after dnfing my last 100 miler. That race, Antelope Island Buffalo Run was my 3rd 100. I had two buckles from the previous years and allowed that to become a rational thought in the cold of the night, that I really didn’t need to keep plugging along after 75 miles since Boston was only 4 weeks out and I was still hoping for a PR there.

I’ve regretted dropping at AI every since. I’d never quit a race before. I’ve had dnfs when I missed cut offs, but that felt differently. Quitting without a really good reason sort of haunted me for the last several months and I’d hoped to get another shot to right that wrong. Along came Javelina! A race several of my friends had done in the past, through cacti in the dessert of Arizona around Halloween (so runners tend to show up in costumes). I knew a few pals were planning on going again this year and when I looked up the dates and realized the race would happen on my birthday, I knew it was the perfect redemption race – and my chance to finally get “Boston and a Buckle” for 2014!!

My only two other 100 finishes were 28:24:24 in 2013 and 30:11:35 in 2012 and since many who race both Antelope and this one tend to run within an hour of their times on both courses, I figured I was looking at around 27 – 29 hrs depending on the day I had. I also knew this race was deceptive. Many think of Javelina as an ‘easy’ 100 since there aren’t a lot of mountains to climb — but the cut off is only 30 hours and you’re usually dealing with extreme heat, several rocky section that beat up your feet and sand in your shoes (and the temptation to drop out after each 15.4 mile lap when you run through the start/finish again.) The finish rate for last year’s rate was only 41% and my friend who ran Boston and has ran a 3:30 marathon came in last place last year, with only a minute and a half to spare on the 30 hour cut off, so I was a bit fearful of the cut offs if I had a bad day.

Since it was going to be my birthday, I had them add Birthday Girl!!!! to my bib, which was awesome!

Since it was going to be my birthday, I had them add Birthday Girl!!!! to my bib, which was awesome!

I have to say that this race has a really playful, fun atmosphere! There were around 550 100 milers signed up and about 150 100kers and many of them camped out the night before the race, which provided a lot of opportunities to get to know the other racers and let the excitement build before race morning. My five kids and husband enjoyed this aspect and really loved that they wouldn’t have to be cooped up in a car driving around in the mountains to crew for this one. They were happy to be able to hang out close to the tent during the entire race, cheering on runners and helping me every 3 1/2 – 5 hours when I’d come through from a loop.

Javelina Jennifer and I

When we all tucked in for the night, it was so peaceful. The temperatures were perfect for camping and I slept well in the fresh, night air. I did have some butterflies but was really eager to begin running in the morning since I felt like it was going to be a wonderful race.

I had studied the lap splits of some of my pals from previous years and used it to get an idea of what times I should expect for each of the (6) 15.4 mile loops (with about 600 of gain per lap) and the final 9.7 mile partial lap. I knew the first lap was always the fastest since it’s early in the day, on fresh tapered legs and the excitement of 500+ other runners running too. I also noticed that those that went too hard on the first 3 laps tended to crash and burn if they weren’t really trained for the stronger pace, so I had a plan to stay conservative the first 2 laps as the day heated up, then speed up in the final stages if all went well.

Javelina group packet pickup

I loved starting the race with so many friends. I had 9 other Boise pals doing the 100 and 2 friends in the 100k that started one hour later, plus a few other great pals I’d met at other ultras on the course. And, since the loops go washing machine style – first one direction and then the other, I knew there would be a lot of opportunity to see my friends and get and receive encouragement, which was awesome!

Javelina group photo start

I stayed with several of my friends for the first couple of miles, but after doing some mental math, realized I was going faster than I knew I could keep up, so I let them pull ahead and I settled in at a pace I thought was more likely to pay off for me later in the race when I’d need strong legs and energy. I just enjoyed the dawning of the day and since I’d left my headlamp behind (and it was dark at 6 am when we started) this helped me not go too fast. There was plenty of light from the headlamps around me, so I wasn’t worried about tripping or falling. I did lap 1 in about 3:22. My goal was under 3:30, so I felt really happy with that.

My legs weren’t feeling as chipper as I’d hoped, despite the conservative pace. I kept eating and drinking and taking my S caps regularly and hoped I’d feel looser and lighter later on. As I came into the start/finish, my 5 kids and husband were cheering and my children were all offering their hands for high-fives! I loved it!!! I stop and gave each of them a hug and my husband a kiss. He had bottles of Tailwind ready to switch out for my empty ones, which was awesome and made my trip in and out quick. I told them to expect me in about 4 hours on loop 2 as the day warmed up and the pace relaxed further to keep a steady use of energy.

javelina jump shot 2 loop 1

As the day got brighter, it was fun to see all of the fun costumes people were wearing. I saw a man with a fake pregnant belly, a skeleton, a man riding a fake horse (who I heard won), a policeman, a caveman, a princess, Inspector Gadget, Day of the Dead costumes, A single Amigo (my pal, Cory Reece!) and probably the most shocking – a guy with the entire back of his running shorts ripped out so his buns were enjoying a nice breeze. Javelina actually is a very unique race with many silly awards and one of those awards is given each year for ‘best ass.’ This guy was doing his best to win and I heard he did – though I made it a point to pass him quickly, so I’d stop blushing!

My friend Jennifer Cline snapped this shot during the race!

My friend Jennifer Cline snapped this shot during the race!

I did loop 2 in about 4:10 and started feeling warmed up and really good. I was still dressed up in my Candyland costume and decided to keep wearing it another lap. My pals and Wayne helped me get some food and filled my bottles and then I headed out again. I probably spent 10 min in the aid station this time, making sure to get sunscreen since the sun was beating down.

Loop 3 was probably my best! Suddenly my stride started to lengthen, I felt a surge of energy and I felt like I could fly! I started passing a lot of people and running more of the uphills and rocky sections as though I was dancing with the rocks! It was FUN! I had a few miles around 10:30 in here, which was amazing and a real confidence boost! I knew I couldn’t keep that up forever, but I enjoyed the wave while I rode it! I had a smile as big as Texas as I listened to my IPod and played air guitar and drums and kept going! Lap three took 3:43 and was my easiest.

When I hit the aid station, my pals and Wayne went straight to work helping me get ready for nightfall since the sun sets at 6 pm. At first I thought I might head back into camp to change out of my costume and into running gear, but my friends, Ryan A. and Alex talked me into changing ‘ultra style’ out in the open, while they held up towels. Wayne stood there holding a towel and looking worried that I might end up sharing more of myself with the world than I was expecting. I did have one funny moment where I had dropped off the dress and shorts and looked up to see several people in the camp behind us giggling. Oops! I think some of the towels weren’t covering all of my lower bits, so I blushed and tried to change faster! I was trying to be so fast I ended up putting on my shorts backwards!!!! I fixed that, Wayne got me some food and Ryan offered to run by calves and shoulders which felt amazing after packing a hydration pack for hours and getting 46+ miles on the legs! He also rubbed an ice cold beer up and down my arms to bring my body temperature down and that worked like a charm too. I felt truly ready to conquer the world after that 5 star treatment! I headed out, knowing this would hopefully be my last loop solo, since my Daily Mile friend Tab had kindly offered to come and pace me for laps 5 and 6 in the night. Though she and I have been DM friends for years and I’ve bought some cute skirts from her, we’d never met in person, so I was looking forward to finally meeting her.

I ran well for a few miles, then decided I’d better hold back a bit since I didn’t want to show up for my pacer with nothing left to give. I also stopped drinking or eating as much as the heat of the day eased and I decided it would give my stomach a chance to process all the food and drink I’d taken in over the nearly 12 hours I’d already been on the course! In retrospect, that wasn’t my best decision as a bonk would be waiting for me later, but at the time, it seemed wise, since I’d had no nausea or other problems and was feeling great.

It was on this loop that I saw my first tarantula and a couple small rattlesnakes. I also started to hear the coyotes howling, which is a familiar sound from running on the trails at home and made me feel at home.

As I pulled in after finishing loop 4 in 4:51, I was so excited to look up and see Tab smiling and ready to go! Yay!!! My pacer! I hugged her, we grabbed what we needed and took about 20 min in the aid station before heading out into the night together. There was a lot of chatting as we got to know one another and I was so grateful to have her along for the next few hours (and 31 miles!)

She proved to be a really thoughtful pacer, as just at midnight, she yelled out, “Happy Birthday” to me, which I thought was pretty sweet! 😀 That’s right. I turned 42 on the sandy, desert trails of Javelina Jundred this year! What a way to celebrate, too!

Not long after midnight, I started to really struggle with fatigue. This happens in every 100 for me, where my body starts wondering when it can lay down and get some sleep, but I must will it to keep moving through the dark hours at a steady pace. Since I hadn’t been eating as much, I also started to struggle with bonkiness. I got slower, less talkative and a bit down mentally. I’d been running for 18 hours and I was starting to have a few doubts. Because I’ve struggled with dnfs on occasion, sometimes I get caught up in my fear of cut offs and though I was far ahead of cutoffs at the moment, my mind was on the finish line cut off of 30 hours. My Garmin had died, so I had no idea how many miles I’d done or what my pace was and I started to worry and obsess about weather I was going fast enough. Tab tried to reassure me, but I was probably a pain to work with since I was feeling worried.

Somewhere around 70 miles on the course, coming into the boisterous sounds of Jackass Junction, the biggest aid station at roughly the half-point of the course, when I started to fade even more. Tab could see I needed to do something to rectify the situation so she headed to the aid station table to get me some coffee and Ramen noodles to increase my stamina and calorie intake. She was so helpful and I appreciated it a ton! I sat in a chair, hanging my head in my hands, wondering if I had it in me to keep going fast enough for 32 more miles! It sounded like an eternity! My feet were beat up from the rocky sections of the course and my stomach was growling out loud. Just about then I spotted my close friend, Ryan again. He’d been pacing his wife, Michelle in the 100k. She’d had some really bad back pain from some compressed discs and some blisters that covered nearly the e entire pads of her feet and had to drop. I felt terrible to hear that since Michelle is a good friend and I’ve enjoyed pacing her in other ultras and had hoped this would be a good race for her.

Ryan could see I was in a low spot and he was firm with me that I needed to drink all of the coffee, get some food in me and get right back out on the course. That little push helped and before we knew it, Tab and I were off into the night again. It was during this loop, we spotted a scorpion! I’d never seen one before and Tab‘s scream was pretty impressive! She told me she’d been bit by one once and that had me really watching my feet for more, but thankfully we never saw another.

Tab, my pacer, took this spectacular photo of the sunrise on day 2 of my race. I totally love it!

Tab, my pacer, took this spectacular photo of the sunrise on day 2 of my race. I totally love it!

I think we came in from the 5th loop at around 3 am or so. It was my slowest lap of the day at 5:19.  My emotions were getting the better of me and when I saw my husband, I started to cry and told him I was worried if I kept moving so slow, I would miss the cut off by a few minutes at the end. I had planned and hoped to have my 13 year old son pace me the final 9.7 mile loop if all went well, but I realized at this point, that would be a bad idea. I started imagining pushing the cut offs and wondered what would happen if, say Jr rolled an ankle or wasn’t able to keep the pace I needed to finish and I felt panicky about it and asked Wayne if he’d please talk to Jr about maybe not pacing that section after all and to tell him I was so sorry I wasn’t running fast enough for a cushion. I also started thinking about how Tab was so nice to help me for 31 miles but wasn’t going to be able to go beyond that and I started to wonder if I’d struggle on my own the final lap, when I would possibly need pushing more than ever. That got me down. Since I knew Ryan and Michelle were waiting for a ride at Jackass Junction, I wondered if maybe Ryan might be able to join me for the final stretch, if Michelle didn’t mind. I mentioned it to Wayne and he said he’d talk to them when they got in.

My husband did a wonderful job of reassuring me during that low point. He hugged me (which was what I needed) and looked me in the eye and said he’d figure something out for me for the final loop and told me everything would be ok.

I felt that aid station with renewed hope and it was exciting realizing Tab and I were doing the final full loop! Woo hoo! I was getting tired and walking more than I’d have liked, though. I tried to stay positive and kept moving, eating and drinking and wishing I had my Garmin for the feedback on how I was doing pace-wise.

One of the things on my mind this lap was the sunrise. I longed for it. I know in other hundreds, that if I’m having a low point in the night, the sunrise often brings renewed hope and energy and I was yearning for those. We ran in silence for many of these miles as Tab would encourage me from time to time to keep it up, which helped! I was pushing myself as hard as I thought I could go. Tab took some really neat pictures of me as the sun was rising and I marched on in the desert. I had no idea she did that and the pictures came out really beautiful and are wonderful mementos of that part of my race.

Once we hit the halfway point at Jackass Junction on the final stretch, I started to come back to life, realizing the worst was almost over. I still wasn’t sure of the time and was running scared, though. I was hoping Ryan might be able to join me and that I’d get some hugs from my kids before the final half loop. The other thing that makes this final stretch special, is those who make it past loop 6 are given one of those little glow necklaces kids like to wear at Halloween. It symbolizes to all who pass you that you’re on the final stretch and I’d been sentimental each time I saw others pass wearing them. I started to wonder what color I’d get!

With about 3 miles to go to the aid station, I spotted my pal Cory up ahead, waving and smiling and sporting a pink glow necklace! I squealed and jumped up and down when I saw that!!! He was equally happy to see me and we hugged when we crossed paths. Then he looked me in the eye and said, “I am soooo proud of you, Christie!” My eyes watered up as I ran off, since I was so touched by his words and the sentiment. He had been there with me at Antelope Island in March when I chose to drop and it meant so much for him to see me plugging on still!

About a mile later, we came around a bend, and I saw my running buddy, April! I was so happy to see her! Javelina was her first 100 and she was rocking it! Then, immediately, I realized she wasn’t alone. Ryan was running behind her as pacer. My heart sank and I quickly tried to push my sadness away. Tab knew I’d been hoping to have some company on the final stretch and I think she realized I was caught off guard. April and I are close friends and she saw my face and realized what I must have been hoping. She asked how I was doing and I told her, “Not great.” She quickly asked if I’d like Ryan to come with me but I didn’t want to do that. I could tell she was smiling and having fun with his company and I didn’t want to take that from her, so I told her I’d be fine and I ran on. I realized I’d need to reprocess my thinking and get prepared for a solo final stretch. Emotionally, I hit a low and started thinking about it being my birthday and felt kind of sad that I didn’t have anyone to join me for the final stretch, which I’d hoped would be a celebration and high point.

Just moments later, I heard what sounded like a herd of elephants chasing me down, then the sound of, “Hey! Slow down! You need to save some glycogen for the final miles!” It was Ryan! I felt embarrassed, happy, excited and confused all at once. He started chatting me up and being silly and within a couple minutes he had me laughing and running strong again. Honestly, a huge mental shift happened once he was there. It was as though the burden of the cut-offs was lifted from my shoulders and I had my secret weapon by my side. I’ve ran with Ryan more than any other running pal and he’s seen me discouraged after missing cutoffs in the past – and at my high points – like the day I qualified for Boston. He knows me well and knows how to bring out the best in me and my running. I’ve considered him like a coach in many ways since he’s more accomplished and faster than I am and has ran way more hundreds. His presence really calmed me down and my mind shifted into race mode instantly! The race was on and suddenly I felt really sure I could make the finish in time – or die trying!

I was feeling worried about hurting my son’s feelings, so Ryan came up with a brilliant plan! He called ahead to get Jr and Wayne ready to join us for a short stretch so they could see where the final bit of trail intersected with the main path, so they could come back in a couple hours to meet us and then Jr could still run me into the finish, as originally planned — just doing a mile or so instead of nearly 10. That made me so happy since I’d still get everything I’d wanted and hoped for! A birthday finish AND some time with my son!

We ran into the aid station and Ryan ran off to get me what I’d need for the final stretch. I thanked Tab for being awesome to help me for 31 miles and then we headed out for the final half lap! I had no idea of the time and don’t remember asking, so I was still of the mindset that every minute was important. Wayne (who was wearing my neon pink tutu, which was pretty funny and made me smile) and Jr joined us for a bit so we could point out the trail head to them to meet us later. It was nice being with them as we walked out and chatted. It made my heart happy.

Once we showed them the trail, they headed back to the start to wait for the call to come back and we started running harder. It wasn’t long before I looked up the hill and saw a sight that really surprised me! My pals, John and Drew were dressed like Chippendale dancers and were not far ahead! Ryan teased that this was my chance! It could be like the movie ‘Unbreakable’ where everyone thinks Anton is going to win the race and they’re craning their necks to see him come around the finish, when lo and behond — Geoff Roes comes around the corner and beats him! He said I’d be Geoff and all our friends would be surprised! haha!

We caught up to the boys and I could tell they were hurting. They looked tired and John was walking in such a way it was obvious he’d missed putting on enough Bodyglide earlier! Ryan teased him a little about it and they all started to chat and look happy. John commented, “That’s so nice of you, Ryan to come gather in the last of the Boise Trail Runner gang!” I didn’t have the heart to just take off at my own pace when it seemed the boys needed some company, so I just settled in for a bit and enjoyed the conversation and time with my friends.

We all stayed together for awhile too. They were feeling mostly like walking and I was finding it hard to do that since it seemed to feel better to run, so I’d walk for a while, then pull ahead to run a bit, hear them try to keep up, then hear them start to walk again and I’d slow back down, feeling badly to leave my friends behind.

Finally, we hit the turn off I’d walked past 6 other times — the SPECIAL half loop turn off! ‘3.7 miles to the finish’ a sign boasts!!!! I wanted to jump for joy!!!!!! It was finally here – the home stretch!!! Not long after turning off, there’s an aid station – the final one, with just one, cute, little older lady, a small table with water and a big bottle of Tequila!!! Ryan had already paced in our friend Lynette for the final loop, so he’d made the lady’s day when he said he’d take some of her drink. She said she’d had it there all day and no one was a taker yet. Of course, Ryan was happy to oblige! So, as he approached, we knew he’d be enjoying a little refreshment again this loop! He pulled out his phone and asked if I’d take a picture while he drank some and then the older woman said she’d take if I wanted in the shot too. I was happy she said that, since the final photo is now one of my favorites from the day and pretty darn funny!!!! There Drew, John and I are smiling and laughing while Ryan chugs from the bottle!!! It was pretty funny and I couldn’t believe Ryan didn’t even choke when he stopped!

This is like mile 97 for me, Drew and John and about mile 28 for pacer Ryan! One of the funniest moments of the race. So glad we got a picture!

This is like mile 97 for me, Drew and John and about mile 28 for pacer Ryan! One of the funniest moments of the race. So glad we got a picture!

Not long after, I just couldn’t hold it in anymore! I wanted to run so bad! I was smelling the barn and ready to blow it out for the finish! So, I decided I’d just take off and let Ryan stay with the boys if he wanted to. I didn’t say anything. I just started running faster. Then I heard Ryan say from behind asking, “You got legs, Christie?” and I said, “Oh yeah!!” He caught up beside me and pointed at two people in front of me and said, “Then how about you start by mowing those two down?” He hadn’t even finished the sentence before I was charging forward, amazed at how my legs were feeling and the strength and power I felt in them all of a sudden! I passed them easily and then we did it a few more times, since most of the people in the final stretch were walking instead of running.  I couldn’t believe it. I was running in spots I would normally walk – even the rocky sections and uphills! I just felt amazing!

When we got closer to the spot we’d arranged to meet Wayne and Jr, my 13 year old son, I started to really fly! My birthday dream was coming true! I was going to run into the finish with my son!!! When we spotted his fluffy, blond afro bouncing in the wind as he ran towards us, I was so excited!

I ran towards Jr and then hugged him so tight! He was smiling from ear to ear and so was I! Then we took off! He started doing crazy jumps with spins leaping from side to side on the sandy ground and just cracking me up! Every time I run with him, he reminds me how great life can be when you act like a child and just have fun and that’s what he was doing now!!!! He was showing off and being silly and that just made my heart overflow with love for him and pride and joy!

My 13 year old son, husband and I running into the finish!

My 13 year old son, husband and I running into the finish!

As we neared the finish, my heart started pounding and I started pumping the arms and legs harder and so did my son! It was so much fun racing him into the finish!
I crossed the finish line in 28:11 – a PR by 13 minutes and then the announcer led the crowd in singing me happy birthday! I stood there holding my beautiful, new buckle and just soaked it all in!!! It was one of the best days of my life!!!! I couldn’t believe the click wasn’t saying 29:59:59 since that’s what I’d feared the whole time! I had no idea I was that much ahead of the final cut off! Whew!

My awesome pacer, Tab and I at the finish!

My awesome pacer, Tab and I at the finish!

I hugged my son, my husband and Ryan and told them how much they all had helped me and then I grabbed Tab and thanked her so much for helping me get through the rough patch in the night!!! They say it takes a village to raise a child. I say it takes a village to help an ultra runner go 100 miles! My heart is full and I am so grateful to those in my ‘village’ – the race directors for putting on a top-notch event, the aid station workers, who were peppy and full of energy and smiles all night and all day long, my amazing family for putting up with  my nutty training and sleep schedule, my husband who let me spend more than my fair share of the budget on race entries, Aquaphor and new shoes, my running partners who keep me motivated and loving each and every training mile throughout the year and fill my heart with more friendship and love than I ever imagined and my pacers and friends who were there to help me along the way. I am grateful to all of you!

I will definitely do this race again. Next year it falls on Halloween, which sounds pretty fun. Maybe by then, I can run fast enough not to worry about cut offs so much so Jr can join me for the full 10 mile loop! 🙂 I’d really like that!

Here’s Cory’s Ultra Marathon Dance Party video that I was lucky enough to get to boogy for a couple times! 😀

Here’s recorded live footage of my finish and the amazing people there singing me Happy Birthday, which was totally awesome as well. I’m right around 1:22.

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/54824044

 

My pacer Ryan and my amazing buddy, Cory after I finished! Pure joy!!!

My pacer Ryan and my amazing buddy, Cory after I finished! Pure joy!!!

06/18/14

Finding My Voice Again

SAM_6104

It’s been nearly two months since I last shared anything here in my blog. I ran the Boston Marathon on April 21st and it truly was everything I had hoped it would be and more as a dream come true.  I have some wonderful photos and memories to share with you all in the entry I will do soon.  My family has had some wonderful adventures the last two months as well. We took a road trip from Boise to Chicago to see family (a road trip we hadn’t done in 13 years so it was so long overdue!)  It was an amazing time as a family, we enjoyed a cousin’s wedding, got to visit with Wayne’s grandparents and really spend some quality time with his parents and siblings (and their families) as well. It was wonderful! We stopped at Mt Rushmore and the Badlands on the drive home, which will truly be a family highlight memory for the rest of our lives as well!

The kids really loved the Badlands in South Dakota!

The kids really loved the Badlands in South Dakota!

Our race company, Final Kick Events, put on Lake Lowell Marathon for the 4th time the week before I ran Boston, then we directed Bruneau Beast (our sand dunes race) in early May – the day before we left for Chicago.  Wayne and I’ve been working hard on setting up a couple new races for our summer and fall line up as well – The Tutu Run (which happens July 4th) and the one I’m most excited to launch – The Bogus Marathon – which starts at a local ski resort called Bogus Basin and has a downhill drop of around 4,600 feet making it an incredibly fast course  – sure to help many achieve their BQ and PR dreams here in Boise!

With so much going on, I found myself running less and less, until I’d slowly gotten used to staying up late watching old episodes of How I Met Your Mother and enjoying ungodly amounts of coffee and dark chocolate.  I put on about 10 lbs in the last couple of months and I have felt some of my fitness slipping away.  Thankfully, a friend of mine stopped me this week and let me know he was worried about me.  He said since he hadn’t seen me running on the trails as much or signed up for any of the local races, he was concerned that I was suffering from a little ‘Post-Boston Depression.’  It hadn’t occurred to me, but maybe he was right.  Working for so many years to achieve one really big goal really put the fire in me. I worked so hard and finally got to realize my dream and live it out – and everything went as smoothly as possible.  It was perfect.  Maybe there’s a little of a let-down once you reach a high like that and I guess I’m just now starting to deal with it.

The best way to deal with it of course is to lace up the shoes and start really seriously running again. I’ve started logging back into MyFitnessPal to keep track of my calories and exercise and I’ve started forcing myself to shut off the tv earlier at night so I can get up early and do something active again too.  Yesterday I was up by 4 am so I could go running with friends. This morning I was up again before the sun to head out to hot yoga. I even met a couple friends at lunch for a short run.  And I have plans this Saturday to do a long run with a pal.  I have to say that surrounding myself with motivational, fun friends truly helps! I can’t say no, it seems when they ask me to join in for something active and I’m never disappointed when I go. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy the conversations, the feeling of the wind in my hair and on my face and the sounds of the grasses rustling in the foothills as I run the trails. I’d missed it all so much! Little-by-little I’m going to regain my fitness and set some new goals and get back into the groove.

I just need to figure out what I really want. There are lots of possibilities — aiming for a PR and another BQ at my Bogus Course is high on the list for instance or running Javelina Jundred on my birthday as my next 100 miler would be cool.  I’ll need to figure it out. But, while I do, know that I appreciate all of your good vibes or positive words of encouragement as I get going again and figure out what the next chapter is in my story.  Here goes nothing…. (or the start of everything!) 🙂

My heart will always belong to Boston, but maybe it’s time for me to dream a new dream…

Boston heart

Happy Running,

Christie

03/4/14

2 1/2 Weeks Until My Next 100

The sign says it all!

The sign says it all!

Training has been going very well the last few weeks. Despite a lot more rain than usual for Boise, I’ve been able to get out and get in plenty of miles the last two months.  In fact, the last two months I’ve had more overall miles than ever before, which is pretty exciting!  Joining my hubby for his 5k a day nearly every day has been a nice way to bump up the training miles while keeping the injury risk pretty low since we usually walk those 5ks. I feel it’s been a useful recovery tool as well.

There are a few things going through my mind as I head into the final stretch to my third Antelope Island Buffalo Run on March 21st. This will be my 3rd time running the 100 here and my 4th time running on the island since I paced my friend Bertha in October at the 100k, so I’m comfortable knowing the course practically by  heart and know where to push and where to hold back, which will be useful.  There are many friends coming from Boise and Utah who I’m incredibly excited to see out there, which will definitely keep my spirits high during the race. Some faces I met in 2012 have become life-long friends like Joshua Bryant and Cory Reece. Many close training friends from Boise are also making the journey including my pacer from last year, Derek Call.  It will be fun to see if he still does a heel click for every mile during his 100 like he did for me last year for the final 50 miles of mine! Knowing Derek’s happy-go-lucky nature, I’m guessing there will be plenty of heel-clicking action for the photographers to capture! A new friend of mind, Serrah West will be out there running her first 100 and I can’t wait to see her tear it up! She’s fast and crazy awesome, so I am expecting to see her land in the top 3 ladies by the finish line!

How DOES he do that?!

How DOES he do that?!

My husband Wayne and our five children will again be out as my crew and support for the race, which I’m totally stoked about! This is becoming an Ebenroth spring tradition and one I look forward to so much for the way it draws us together and helps us create some great family memories. I can see it now… my children will be sitting around at Thanksgiving in 20 years talking about all those years they got bored out of their minds while their nutty mother insisted on running 100 miles around an island – for FUN!! It will be grand!

Let's hope I don't anger one of these fellas!

Let’s hope I don’t anger one of these fellas!

After another rough patch with my stomach on an overnight training run last week, I decided to go ahead and order some Tail Wind Nutrition powder in the naked flavor.  I really am at my wit’s end about how to get enough calories in me during a long ultra without having the nausea come on like a tidal wave and just make my race a struggle. I know if I can get a handle on that, my times will really improve.  I guess Antelope Island will be a test for that!

Not only am I trying something new with my nutrition for the race, but I’m also doing something else really daring – I’m doing this one without a pacer – on PURPOSE! I’ve really looked up to a few of the local Boise runners who have been ultra running longer than the rest of us and most of them do these things without assistance – and they do it well.  I’d really love to learn how to manage myself better and consider this the next step in growing up as an ultra runner.  It may be a horrible disaster, but I figure this particular race is an excellent time to try it out.  I’ll definitely be wanting a pacer for the IMTUF 100 in the fall due to the terrain being more difficult and the aid stations further apart (and with my history of getting lost, I’d say it’s a safety issue), but for this one, I think it’s a great opportunity to see if I’ve learned anything at all in the last few years of ultra running or not.  🙂 I’m actually pretty excited about it.  I once did a training run for 50 miles entirely alone and it was one of the best training runs of my life.  Bad weather came, hail, rain, sleet and crazy high winds, but I stayed mentally strong and kept myself moving despite the storm.  When the weather had been mild earlier in the day I had such a nice time just relaxing and enjoying the day on my own  and that is something I really am looking forward to for this race – just a little ‘me’ time for this mom of five!

I do!

I do!

The Boston marathon is only 7 weeks away now! I’ve already received my official Cheeto-dust orange jacket and I can’t wait to earn the right to actually wear it in public like a badge of honor!  Another local mom of five and I (who is also a first time at Boston) will be traveling together and we’re just beside ourselves with excitement as the date gets closer and closer!  I’d have to admit that I’m partly doing the 100 at Antelope Island this year just to dispel some of my nerves! I think it’s working at distracting me!  My Boston training has been going really well, too and I really think I have a shot at a PR on Patriot’s Day! The key will be recovering well after the 100 and then showing up rested and ready to rock on April 21st! It will be a dream come true running that course. I hope I can see through my tears of joy!

Only 7 more weeks!

Only 7 more weeks!

12/10/13

Boston Marathon Clothing

The secret’s out!  The Adidas web site has released the colors for the 2014 Boston Marathon – orange and blue!  They are officially calling the palette  ‘Solar Zest’  and ‘Solar Blue.’  Although I was secretly hoping for the traditional blue and yellow color scheme, I have to admit the Boise State alumni in me is digging the new color’s just fine! Now I’ll have something cute to wear to a game if I ever make it to one!

I saw a few runners on message boards complaining about the colors, when one woman’s husband looked over her shoulder and commented that if he were ever lucky enough to qualify for Boston, the jackets could be ‘Poop Brown’ and he’d still wear it proudly! That made me LOL and I couldn’t agree more!  Getting into Boston was a huge dream-come-true for me! I can’t wait to earn the right to wear my ‘Safety Cone Orange/ Creamsicle’ colored memorabilia for all the world to see! 😀

Adidas Boston Marathon Finisher Jacket

Adidas Boston Marathon Finisher Jacket

 

While browsing the web, I also came across a t-shirt that was sold last for last year’s race that brought a big smile! If only I could get my  hands on 5 of these, I could deck out my children with this catchy phrase as I head off to Boston this year! ha

:D

😀

 

12/9/13

Wrapping Up Yearly Miles

willpower500

I happened to be thumbing through last year’s log book this week and came across my stats for the last few years on one of the pages. I’m glad I bumped into this because it’s always a lot of fun to sit down at the end of the year and see how far I’ve ran and to compare that with previous years to see if I’m improving and staying on track or not.

I won’t bore you with the details of how many miles I ran prior to 2011, since I’d have to dig deeper into the caverns of my log book stash but for 2012 I ran 2,311 miles.  That was a nice improvement over 2011 when I ran 1,937 miles.

I pulled up my data on Daily Mile to see how this year is sizing up in comparison.  My gut told me this year was going to be pretty similar to last year and I was right.  So far this year I’ve logged 2,251 miles!  Looks like I need to run another 61 to beat last year’s numbers and continue to show improvement. With 22 days left in the month, that should be easy to beat!

How are your goals looking as you reflect on what you’ve achieved this past year? Did you achieve what you set out to do or are you looking forward to another New Year for a fresh start to try again?

10/10/13

I Got Into Boston!!!

I feel badly that I have been so busy the past few weeks that I haven’t updated my blog about the big happenings in my running life! My apologies for leaving anyone hanging who was rooting for me to get accepted into the 2014 Boston Marathon! Well, I’m IN!!!! I got accepted!!!!

I was in the midst of getting things organized to help my husband direct  our biggest event to date – The Idaho Wine Run with over 1,300 racers – while I waited to hear from the B.A.A.  Their web site had said they’d let the final round of applicants know one way or the other on Wednesday, September 25th.  I couldn’t sleep the night before. I kept waking up and having little peeks at my email box just in case the emails would be sent out at midnight Eastern time. I must have checked three times through the night before finally falling asleep.  The second my eyes popped open the next morning, it was the same thing – rush to the computer, hold my breath and check my e-mail only to not see anything from the B.A.A. there.  I rushed over to the Boston Marathon web site and typed in my name in the entrants list just to see if it had shown up over there before the email.  Again – nothing.

I finally had to leave the house and do errands for our upcoming Wine Run. We were at our shoe store sponsor, The Pulse Running and Fitness Shop when I got a text from my running buddy, Ryan.  Everyone had already asked me at the store when I walked in if I’d gotten into Boston and I’d told them I didn’t know yet.   The minute I opened up Ryan’s text – simply a picture of his screen showing my name on the entrants list, I started to cry! I said to my husband, “Oh my goodness! I’m going to Boston!” Everyone in the store got emotional right along with me.

It was the neatest way to find out! I still feel like pinching myself because this is such an unbelievable dream come true!!! I’m GOING TO BOSTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guess who's going to BOSTON!!!!!!!!!!!

                      Guess who’s going to BOSTON!!!!!!!!!!!

06/26/13

Silver City 100k – The First Shall Be Last

Silver City 100k - photo courtesy of Julie Tinney

Silver City 100k – photo courtesy of Julie Tinney

As I laid in my camper bed, relaxing to the hum of the heater keeping me toasty, I wondered what the day ahead would bring for me as I tried to catch a few winks of sleep that just would not come. I didn’t feel afraid of the challenge, though I did worry about the weather and hoped I had chosen my morning race gear appropriately since the weather in the mountains can change with very little notice.  Only two days before the race, there had been a blizzard, then the night before it had rained on and off for hours. The weather reports were suggesting sunny and dry and possibly a little too warm for my 100k journey and I just wanted to be prepared!

I must have finally dozed off for about an hour before my alarm went off. I quietly applied copious amounts of Body Glide and put on my shorts, tank top and Brooks Nightlife LSD super thin wind and waterproof jacket, my gloves, my ever-faithful Brooks Pure Grit trail shoes and my headlamp and headed outside. I was stunned by how bright it was at 4 am! The truly blessed runners who chose the early start of the race were being graced with the presence of a spectacular and very special occurrence – a Super Moon! It was magnificent in the sky and I can honestly say, I’ve never seen it look so massive or so breathtaking before! I turned off my headlamp and was able to walk by the light of the moon to the porta potty.

I grabbed my number and timing chip and chatted in the early morning dewy pre-dawn chill with the race directors (who are good friends of mine) and the other early bird volunteers and waited for the big start!  Though 40 were registered for the event, only 35 or so actually showed up to do the race (some had dropped down in distance due to injury and others just didn’t show.) Of those, about 10 of us had chosen the 4 am early start, which eliminated the chance at any placing in the race, but gave a nice, big cushion of time to keep ahead of race cut offs on this very challenging course! I knew I was right on the line of those who could go either way. The regular start was to begin at 5:37 am and since I have had 3 dnfs to my name from cut offs in tough mountain ultras in the past (Big Horn 50 twice and Pocatello 50 once) I just didn’t want to take any chances.

Sean and I leading the early start about a mile into the race. Photo courtesy of Wayne Ebenroth

Sean and I leading the early start about a mile into the race. Photo courtesy of Wayne Ebenroth

I was really happy that so many of my friends had chosen the early start too! There was lots of well-wishing and hugging before the final countdown where we took off! Very quickly my friend Sean took the lead and he and I stayed close together until the first aid station – Slacker’s, where our good friend, Dennis (who is about the most experienced ultra runner among us) was ready to give top-notch service for what would be a very long shift (since his aid station would be our 2nd stop and our 10th and final one as well!)  Sean and I had taken about 45 minutes to run the first 3.4 with about 800 feet of gain already under our belts to warm our legs up nicely for the grueling 14,000 or so that remained.

I left the aid station first and settled into an easy, comfortable pace, running well on the early terrain, dodging the multitude of rocks and finding my rhythm. I relaxed and ran easily feeling so fresh and alive! The dawn was breaking, the scenery was postcard beautiful and there were many wildflowers, grasses wet with dew, the sweet scent of freshly rained on earth in my nose, the wide open expanses below me covered in fog as I happily ran on, all by myself for the next 9 miles.  Through this gorgeous stretch, I could run fast. I stirred up a deer from it’s bed and watched it bound up a hillside as I called out, “Good morning to you!”  A gray jack rabbit hopped across my path a little while later.  I encountered many cows near the trail and began to alert them to my presence by mooing at them as I approached! I did this the entire loop, grinning and feeling delight in the early morning light. Many of the wonderful ATV volunteers were positioned along this part of the course to keep an eye on us and help us go the right way and each one cheered and offered encouraging words as I passed, which was awesome! It was also fun hearing things like, “Your’e the first runner!”  I was only the first early runner, but it was pretty cool being in the lead (or sharing it with Sean when we were together) for this section! I was in a very happy place as the sun started to rise!

The gorgeous scenery on the Slackers 9 mile loop. Photo courtesy of Jeff Black

The gorgeous scenery on the Slackers 9 mile loop. Photo courtesy of Jeff Black

I completed the 9 miles in about 2 hours, checked in and out of the Slackers Aid station again and headed on my way. Sean had just caught up to me again and we enjoyed chatting and running in the early morning light. This is where we also finally saw the regular starters on the course.  I had glanced at my Garmin at 1:27 into my race and saw that I had about 7 miles down when the regular field was released. It was an exciting mental game to think of being the little turtle put ahead of the rabbits who would chase me down! I thought it would be fun to have a front row seat to all the action at the front of the pack and get to say hi to each of my fast friends as they passed me. I was happily looking forward to this part of the race and felt I had run well and was eager to see how long I could hold the lead for before I got caught by the pack!

Slacker's Aid Station and the Aid Station Captain Extraordinaire Dennis Ahern! - Photo courtesy of Jeff Black

Slacker’s Aid Station and the Aid Station Captain Extraordinaire Dennis Ahern! – Photo courtesy of Jeff Black

Sean and I stayed together, enjoying the chilly early morning, our feet getting wet from the dew on the grasses that lined the trail heavily at this part.  The scenery was out of this world beautiful and we oohed and ahhed at every bend in the trail at the brilliant vistas before us!  As we entered Silver City, Sean decided to take a bathroom break at one of the only vault toilets along the course and I ran on, eager to hear some cheering from the dwellers of Silver City (though I was aware that it was mostly a ghost town and was not expecting a big crowd.)  Unfortunately, I saw exactly zero people as I ran through town – right down the middle of the street. I was fascinated by the old stone buildings with huge metal doors and reminded myself that the race director had said under no circumstances should we peek into the windows of these cool buildings since apparently, the citizens don’t appreciate being ogled!  So, I ran, eager to hit the 3rd aid station – the Silver City one, but I didn’t see one.  I was more than 18 miles into the race and still waiting for the front runners to catch me and I was all alone and wondering how much longer this part would last. I think my overall pace at this point was something like a 13:30, which was pretty solid for this course. My goal pace was about a 17:00 so I was doing well. At this point we’d done about 3,215 feet of climb and already experienced some pretty knarly, technical, rock-strewn sections and a bit of shoe-sucking mud in the 9 mile Slackers Loop, though the worst was yet to come.

After I’d ran through town, I finally spotted some flagging indicating the 100k distance (the race also offers 30k and 50k options for those looking for less punishment!) I saw three flags in a row (which usually  means turn here), then looked down the road at the turn and saw confidence markings down the road.  But, I hadn’t hit the aid station yet and so I was confused. I stood there puzzling over it for a few minutes.  I looked straight ahead into town and did not see any other flagging, so after a few moments, I decided that turning right and heading up the hill was the right thing to do (cue the doomsday music!)

The old mining town of Silver City. Photo courtesy of Jeff Black

The old mining town of Silver City. Photo courtesy of Jeff Black

This is a really fun section since there are abandoned buildings, barns that have crashed to the ground, old schoolhouse type wooden structures – just all sorts of really, really cool things to look at! AND, a plethora of water crossings so wide and deep you HAVE to get your feet wet (which quite frankly I adore in a race where it’s warm!)  Sean caught up to me about half a mile in and we both felt relieved that we’d each made the same decision to follow the flagging.  Soon, the road became very steep and the grade made it hard to keep running, so we power hiked.  We hiked on and soon our Garmins said we’d hit mile 20 – and there was still no sign of the aid station.  We’d followed flagging along this entire stretch so felt like we were doing what we were supposed to,  but things just weren’t making sense.  We both agreed there was no way the front runners had not caught up with us yet by this point!  We had climbed 800 bonus feet in those two slow, hot miles and suddenly we were at a fork in the road — and the flagging ended.  We stared at each other and agreed to work as a team – him going one way and me going the other in search of the  way to go.  I went right, Sean went left. After about 2/10 of a mile with no visible flagging in a spot I could see way down the road another 2/10, I ran back to tell him that my direction must be wrong. He reported the same and we stood there as an uneasy feeling settled in and we realized we must be off course!

We had wasted over 45 minutes climbing and looking for the right way and knew it would only get worse, so we turned around and started running back down the hill, back through the multiple water crossings, back through the path of decrepid, cool, old buildings and all the way back down to the main road into town where we saw a Sherrif on an ATV talking to a woman with his back to us. We had to wait a minute to get his attention and then I asked if he knew the way we were supposed to go.  He said “Straight!”  Ugh!!!  🙁   We had done 4 bonus miles and totally wasted more than an hour of our early start cushion! Bummer!

Our moods both saddened.  We were now over 22 miles into the race and in search of the 18 mile aid station and it looked like most of the fast runners had already flown by (including most of my closest running partners who I had really hoped to see in this section.)  I was disappointed. It was my own fault for not verifying the turn or checking my map (which I did consult after the two miles uphill), but I could not get that time (or the energy my legs had expended) back.  So we started running through town together. I glanced back over my shoulder and saw a red jacket and a turquoise Pearl Izumi tank top peeking out on the runner just behind us!  Several of my friends are part of the Pearl Izumi team and I was trying to figure out which one this was. I kept running figuring they’d catch up in a couple of minutes and when they did I realized it was my neighbor, Tony Huff! It was nice to see him and he, Sean and I started running together in search of the elusive aid station.  We got a little confused in here and weren’t sure if we should cross Jordon Creek or go straight. Tony and Sean went one way and I went the other and when I saw flagging on the road another quarter of a mile away I yelled back at them until they joined me again — back on course!

Crossing the water to the Silver City Aid Station behind Sean. Photo courtesy of Antonio Salazar

Crossing Jordon Creek to the Silver City Aid Station behind Sean. Photo courtesy of Antonio Salazar

Finally, we reached the Jordon Creek aid station headed up by Tony Salazar and his exceptionally happy, hero-costumed family members and friends! I went plowing through the 6 inches or so of water to the other side, grinning and enjoying the delightful rush of cold mountain water on tired feet! They had music playing, the mood was light and they had a gourmet feast of delicious treats to offer us! I took some of the tasty watermelon and two of the most delicious pancakes I have ever eaten — the salty butter just dripping off of them as I scooped them up and started munching them as I left their aid station with Sean and Tony headed up to Hayden Peak Saddle another 5 miles away (and most of it uphill!)  It was a fun moment and I said thank you to each volunteer (as I try to do along the course in every race I do!)  I glanced at my watch and realized that I was now over 5 hours into my race which was a bit disappointing since I  would have been there closer to 3 hours 45 min into it had I not gone off course. Bummer.

Silvery City Aid Station - the most festive on the course (sorry honey!) Photo courtesy of Jeff Black

Silvery City Aid Station – the most festive on the course (sorry honey!) Photo courtesy of Jeff Black

Sean and I relaxed into a strong hiking pace and enjoyed some nice conversation as we aimed for the highest peak in the Owyhee Mountains – Hayden Peak at 8.403 feet. But, first  we’d need to reach the Hayden Saddle aid station about 5 miles away (at an elevation of 5,270 feet!)  Since Sean is a friend of mine from Boise and we’ve done a few long training runs together, this section felt very comfortable.  The scenery was extraordinary!! So much lushness! So many trees! Fields of wild flowers, long sections of tall sage brush. And, the sage brush especially caught my eye because it occurred to me how nicely it would shield the human eyes of other runners, so I excused myself and headed for a nice hidden one to take care of business before I headed for the rest of the climb to Hayden Peak.

Heading up Hayden Peak. Photo courtesy of Jeff Black

Heading up Hayden Peak. Photo courtesy of Jeff Black

It was at this point 3 runners passed me by.  Someone in a yellow shirt, a young gal in a white hat and a runner in a pink skirt.  I was peeking out from the bushes, trying to be discreet, so I didn’t even realize the third one was my friend, Lynette!  Several minutes later, I cleaned up and came out from my hiding spot and got back into power hike mode. The 50k runners were also climbing and descending Hayden, so I was starting to see some of the people I know!

Dondi Black kindly took this photo as I climbed up Hayden Peak.  Thank you, Dondi!

Dondi Black kindly took this photo as I climbed up Hayden Peak. Thank you, Dondi!

This section was covered in red shale and was difficult to navigate.  It was a long stretch of ankle rollers that made footing a challenge – especially when trying to speed up! I finally rolled into the Hayden Saddle aid station at 6:48 into the race (mile 23 for most 100kers and mile 27 for those on the scenic, self-guided tour!)  We were greeted by cheers and energy and smiles from more of my friends from Boise, which was awesome! I swear every aid station went above and beyond in service and smiles and for that I am truly grateful!  We were told to head to the summit grab a toy solider from a bag (to prove we’d been there) and bring it back – a 7 mile journey that would have us climb another 1,200 very rocky, very steep miles! It was slow going for sure!  This also was the one section of the race where I actually got to see several friends all at once! I saw Ryan, Marci, Michelle, Andrea, Dondi (who took my favorite pictures of the day – thanks Dondi), Derek, Frank and many others and it was a joy to see how their days were going and catch them up on mine. The most common question, “What happened to you?We thought you’d be way ahead of here by now.”

Socializing on the climb (my Garmin tells me I spent over 3 hours of non-moving time. I think I talk too much!) ha! Photo courtesy of Dondi Black.

Socializing with my childhood friend, Marci as Ryan zooms on down on his way to a serious PR.  Photo courtesy of Dondi Black.

My Garmin tells me I spent nearly 3 hours of “non moving” time in the first 18 hours and 16 seconds of this race (when my Garmin battery died at mile 61 and some change.) I can guarantee you I spent at least 45 minutes or more of that in this section talking people’s ears off as we’d pass on the trails!! I gave one runner friend some ibuprofen for her IT band problems, got a few hugs and pictures and then met up with a runner who wasn’t feeling well.  Once we started talking I realized she and I had done a couple of races together already this year (and she was 1st place in both!!) She was a rock star! 🙂 But, this was her first 100k and being a tough little gal, she was pushing through the difficulties to make it happen despite struggling with a lot of nausea.  After chatting a bit, I told her that sometimes throwing up might be the only way to relieve the nausea and she gave it a try. To my happy delight, a few minutes later she was running by my side and said she felt much better! It was nice to see her handle that stretch and feel good for a bit!

We headed to the summit, where it was getting a bit chilly and we were the only two up there. I’d seen other pals from last year take photos here and I really regretted not having a camera to take a few shots of my own (next year!)  My new pal, Serrah and I grabbed our Army guys (mine was dong the Army crawl with a gun) and we headed downhill.  I was eager to go faster than our uphill pace, but unfortunately with the loose, shale rocks covering the trail, it was almost as slow going down as it was up in many spots! My knees both started to really hurt here (which isn’t something I have had happen before.) I think the loose rocks made the IT bands work harder than usual. Serrah was struggling with nausea, so I talked her into trying to throw up to ease the feeling and she headed off into the bushes to give it a try.  A few minutes later, she was back by my side smiling and feeling much better.  We stayed together until we were back at the Hayden Saddle aid station again, where her dad and sister helped her get some ginger ale and she sat down for a minute to rest. I was now 9 hours and 17 minutes into my race and had ran over 34 miles counting my bonus 4. I had been carrying a laminated projected aid station chart with me and gave it a glance to see how far off I was of my hoped-for arrival time.  I had written 12:30 on the chart and I was 47 minutes behind due to my earlier mistake. I had already climbed over 8,500 feet in the race as well and I knew I was about half way done with another 6,000+ of gain awaiting me on the rest of the course and 33.5 more miles to go.  I hoped I would be able to pick up my pace a bit now that Hayden Peak was bagged and return to my predicted time goal if possible.

I ate some strawberries, a piece of white bread and sipped some Mountain Dew, then asked for a baggie of M and Ms from my friend Nellie who was heading up the aid station (thanks, Nellie!) and then I headed on my way.  Though I had been wearing my jacket on the trip up and down Hayden Peak, I was warming up in the afternoon sunshine at the lower elevation and I decided to take that off and stow it in my Nathan for the next stretch back to Silver City aid station – another 8 miles away.

Serrah quickly joined up with me again and we started to run really well together. We got to know each other a little bit better and it was a nice stretch.  The ATV roads through here were especially nice and we found a faster pace than we’d managed on the more rocky sections, running through the wide mountain vistas of green gorgeousness that surrounded us.  I realized about an hour later that I should fuel again, so I let Serrah go and  slowed down to take out my snacks and nibble a bit and drink up.  Not long after this, I came to a fork in the road without any ribbons or markings. I wasn’t sure which way to go, so I made a mental note of the exact mileage on my Garmin and then started heading down the path straight ahead hoping to find another trail marker within a tenth of a mile or so.  I didn’t find one after 2/10ths so I headed back to the junction and found Serrah there, equally confused having gone down the other path, also without finding a marker.  Finally, we decided to go with the one I’d tried and go further to see if it was correct or not.  We found another runner not far away after running for a bit and he assured us this was the correct path. He said a couple other runners near him had also been confused, but it was nice to be back in a groove and making progress again.

We had some nice conversation with our new trail mate – who it turned out had ran some of my Final Kick event races, which was pretty cool! We started discussing climbing vs. descending and which was our strength.  He said he was a better climber. I told him I was a better downhiller and just about this time, we hit a stretch with some nice, gentle downhill and I took off, feeling really strong and enjoying the feeling of a second wind!

I ran alone for a mile or so and then my steam faded away again.  The man caught up to me first and I encouraged him as he passed by looking strong and then Serrah caught me next and I wished her well as she went on ahead.  I had pulled out my little prediction sheet and saw I was getting further behind and I started to really get discouraged. My stomach was starting to feel nauseated, my knees were hurting when I’d try to pick up the pace and my mood slid downhill as fast as my legs normally like to carry me.  What had occurred to me just before this was that I was about to hit the stretch of the course where I’d have to REDO the section I had already done earlier when I’d taken a wrong turn.  Including the 800+ of climb.  That kind of bummed me out.

I reached the Silver City aid station at 3:34 pm – exactly 11 hours and 34 minutes into the race and I had traveled more than 43 miles by this point (instead of the 38 I should have been at.) I had hoped to arrive at this aid station at 2:46 pm, so I was now 48 minutes behind schedule (which I suppose also means I was fairly consistent in the last 8 + miles.) Antonio Salazar and his wonderful family and their other aid station workers were smiling and willing to jump in and help in any way we needed which was wonderful and a bright spot in the race for me.  I especially enjoyed the hug from his sweet mama, dressed in her Super Man t shirt and red tutu!  They topped off my water pack and I took another pancake and some watermelon. I did pull Tony aside and ask if they could radio ahead to the RD and see if there was any way I could skip the next section (since I’d already done it.) I don’t know what I was thinking – that maybe one of the ATV guys could bring me back up the hill to the spot 2 miles up I had turned around and leave me there to continue, but it was a silly thing to ask and I know that.  The radio user was busy reporting some runner data so the request never went forward and I just headed out onto repeat the section I’d done. I didn’t want to risk a dnf no matter what so I was honestly expecting to hear I’d have to redo it no matter what, but figured it didn’t hurt to ask.

There is a vault toilet about a quarter mile down the road in Silver City and I took the opportunity to stop and use it.  As I entered I spotted a brand new, unopened snack pack of Lays chips balancing precariously on the back of the potty. The aid station had ran out of salty chips by the time I reached them and it was like a ray of sunlight shone on the Tasty Treasure Treat! I believe I heard angels burst into choruses of Hallelujahs as I reached for the Gift Chips and inspected the bag to make sure it had not been opened. It had not, so I ripped it open and stuffed a few into my mouth (after wiping my hands with one of the baby wipes I carry in my pack!) It was a small ray of joy in my day and I needed it.

It felt nice to sit on an actual toilet seat after peeing in the bushes for hours! So nice, in fact, that when nothing exciting happened on the potty after a few minutes I found myself not wanting to get up. It was comfy there in the vault toilet and I hadn’t sat down all day. It was a monumental effort to get my butt off that seat and back into the groove of being in a race again! I opened the door and headed back to the road and started running again.  Serrah caught up to me somewhere in here and she wasn’t feeling too hot again, struggling with nausea and exhaustion a bit.

We fed off each other’s misery as we climbed up towards Long Gulch, which is only 3.5 miles from the Silver City aid station but has 1311 feet of climb and feels like a slow, long haul.  About a mile up the hill, I saw an ATV rider. I had pulled out my map concerned about the junction I’d encountered earlier in the day on this stretch when Sean and I could not find any flagging 2 miles up.  The rider asked if he could help me and I explained my concern about getting up the hill again and not being able to tell which way to go. I asked if he knew which direction was right or if he’d spotted an aid station at the top.  I showed him my map and let him look at it and he told me that he had seen the aid station but could not remember which direction to take, but that it was a long, long ways up to the top.  🙁 I thanked him for his help (and realized somewhere in here that he was the husband of one of my childhood friends) and then Serrah caught up to me and we continued on.

There are many water crossings through this section and in the warmth of the afternoon sun, they were a welcome relief.  Serrah pulled off to puke again and I kept heading slowly up the road, trying to stay out of the path of the stream of ATV riders and pick up trucks coming and going up and down the hill. I finally reached the spot Sean and I had gotten to and noticed someone had placed a ribbon to the right.  I was so happy about that! So, I headed right at the junction and encountered several men and a woman and an angry, barking dog right at the next big water crossing.  The dog barked and barked at me as I got closer and I kept my eye on him as I got around the people and crossed the water.   I was glad to be on the other side and on my way.

It was several minutes later that I heard the dog again and knew Serrah was safely behind me. I’d been worrying about her and didn’t want her to get too far behind while she was feeling bad. This eased my mind and I kept moving forward at a slow, trudging pace, just following the plethora of footprints in the dirt that had traveled up before me.  Serrah and another man caught up to me about a mile before the aid station and we heard hoots and cheering as we approached the Long Gulch aid station, where they aid, “C’mon! Let’s see some RUNNING!”  That lit my fire and Serrah and I started sprinting towards them at a breakneck speed (likely a 10 min mile at this point, which honestly felt like a 5 min mile!)

I was so relieved to finally be at the top.  I realized that I knew a few of the volunteers and we said hello.   They offered me bacon and I accepted (because WHO refuses bacon?!) but when I tried to take a bite, my stomach went very sour and I had to set it down.  I was now about 46 miles into the race and at the point I often start to struggle with getting food into my system.  I had been eating steady most of the day and my gut just felt full and sloshy and gross. I didn’t want to eat and yet I knew I should. It was 5:04 pm and I’d been running for more than 13 hours and I was starting to really feel it. It occurred to me that the winners were likely already done and I still had over 22 miles left to go. Ugh! I checked my cheat sheet to see how far off I was and saw that I had hoped to arrive here at 3:45 pm, so I was now an hour and 19 minutes behind my goal.  Dang! And, I knew Tennessee Hill (the steepest climb of the race) was still awaiting me.

After a few minutes of light snacking, a nice man packed up some Cheese It crackers and sent me on my way.  Sadly, those crackers would ride in my pack the next 8 hours and I would not eat one of them as my stomach would go from bad to worse.  Serrah, our new friend Steve and I left the aid station running fairly well together, but quickly my stomach made me feel awful running, so I slowed to a walk and let them take off.  We were one our way to Jordan Creek aid station (the final cut off place in the race with a cut off time of 7:30 pm) and I knew Tennessee Hill was right after that. I spent the next 4 mile walking alone. I tried to keep the pace at about a 14-16 min pace and would just add bursts of running for as long as my sore knees and sour stomach could take it.  I finally decided to take a moment of this solitude and head for a bush break again, hoping I could ease some of the stomach problems with some emptying.  I spent several minutes taking care of business and then got back on the trail, but found I wasn’t moving much better. I was starting to really fatigue and it was getting late.

Jordan Creek  Aid Station for the second time. Photo courtesy of Jeff Black

Jordan Creek Aid Station for the second time. Photo courtesy of Jeff Black

When I could hear the sound of rushing water, I perked up.  I knew that Jordan Creek must be getting closer and that gave me hope!  I made it through a water crossing and then hit a dirt road and followed the markings and just kept running. I was suddenly running a little better and was eager to get to the aid station.  I finally pulled into the aid station at 6:26 pm about an hour before the cut off.  My friend Tina Upton was there and she offered me a banana Popsicle, which I happily accepted.  I refused water, since I hadn’t drank any since the last aid station and didn’t need any.  My race director friends were there too and they looked concerned.  They wanted to know how I’d gotten the 4 miles off course earlier in the day and I spent several minutes explaining what had happened.  As I spoke I started to get more down about it. In retrospect, I should have just asked if we could talk about it later, since this was taking time and reminding me of my mistake.  I showed my friend Davina my Garmin and said, “I’m now over 52 miles into the race and I was supposed to arrive at my husband’s aid station at mile 51, so that’s kind of depressing.”  That’s when she also told me that the next runner behind me on the course was over 4 hours back and would be pulled.  I had just become the last place runner.

With that bad news I headed through Jordan Creek water crossing and straight up the worst climb of the day — Tennessee Hill.  I had hoped to arrive at Jordan Creek AS at 4:58 pm. I was more than an hour and a half behind and I’d spent about 20 minutes at the aid station, so I was getting further and further behind my goal.

Tennesee Mountain. Photo courtesy of Jeff Black

Tennesee Mountain. Photo courtesy of Jeff Black

The climb up Tennessee is no joke! I’d take several steps up, moving steady but slowly and then have to stop and catch my breath.  I had to keep my shoes at an angle as I trudged uphill, leaning forward on my knees as the grade increased and I got further up.  Tennessee hill ascends something like 1,200 in less than a mile, so it’s a real kick in the gut at such a late point in the race. I’d heard people who had done the race the year before giving some pretty colorful names to this section and I started to understand why!

The worst part was when I thought I’d reached the summit (and had traveled more than a mile from the aid station and could see just a small white dot where the white canopy was marking the spot back), I headed forward and realized that the climb had just BEGAN!  There before my bewildered eyeballs was the steepest section of all! Oy vey! I groaned and struggled on, noticing that the light was fading around me and the sun was setting.  When I finally reached the summit, I wanted to mark the occasion.  I couldn’t think of a better way than peeing right on the top to mark that I’d been there and conquered it! Take THAT, Tennessee Hill!!   I walked a bit more to the other side, where it started to descend and just took a moment to enjoy the view. It really was spectacular.  I could see deer bounding in the distance and the purple and white wildflowers were a beautiful sight in the fading light of the sunset.  I decided to just sit down right on the path for a moment and take in the scenery from way up high.

Once I got moving again, it was slow going. I think I’d just lost my drive and was just putting one foot in front of the other. Thankfully, this next section is much easier and I started jogging again, though most of it was power walking.  I knew that the next aid station I would reach would be the one I’d looked most forward to all day — Delamar  – the aid station my five kids, husband and I had headed up last year!  My husband and some friends would be there waiting for me this time and I was so eager to get there! I knew he had coconut Popsicle and I tried to use my desire for one as motivation to get there!

About a mile from the aid station, I was surprised to hear a runner coming up from behind me. It was my buddy, Paul! He told me he was the race sweeper and was here to hang with me! Woo hoo! It was so very nice to have some company after so many hours alone!  My pace picked up considerably for a little bit, but soon, I had to let him know my fatigue and lack of nutrition were catching up with me and I’d need to power walk instead.  Paul is a very happy-go-lucky type of person and I appreciated his taking the lead in conversation since I was pretty brain-dead by this point.

Coming into Delamar looking like I'd had just about enough. Photo courtesy of Wayne Ebenroth

Coming into Delamar looking like I’d had just about enough. Photo courtesy of Wayne Ebenroth

We finally pulled into the Delamar aid station at 8:30 pm (about 2 hours behind my goal time.)  My husband took photos as we came down the hill and I had the look of “You would NOT believe the bad day I’ve had” face in them.  Normally, I’m a goofball and ham it up for the camera so I was not in a good mental place at this point.  I was tired. I was nauseous and I was eager to be done. I had been running for 16 and a half hours buy this point and I still had about a half marathon in distance before me (and over 2,000 more of climbing to boot!)  I quickly perked up with the fun mood of the aid station, though.  Everyone was smiling and offering me help.  I accepted a cold mocha Frappuccino and drank half of it while I filled them in on the events of the day.  I think I sat in that chair chatting for about 20 minutes and honestly hated to leave I was having so much fun.  But, there was work to be done and I headed out.  I made one very crucial mistake here. I had only one drop back for the entire race and it was here.  I was still wearing my thin Brooks windbreaker, a tank top and my shorts and gloves and had my headlamp, but could have used some wind pants and a warmer shirt or jacket (all of which were in the bag that I never even asked for!) Doh! This would be a huge mistake and I’d pay for it!

Paul and I had heard that another runner was only 15 minutes ahead of us and we decided to see if we could catch them.  Unfortunately, my stomach and sore knees said, “Um NO!”  when I tried to convince them to run.  So, we took short run breaks and power walked on. We had to turn on our headlamps not far down the road and after several miles we finally did catch up with our friend, Day (who was doing his first 100k and doing a great job!) That gave me some renewed strength and I ran on ahead letting Day get some conversation time in with Paul and I ran along, riding another short wave of energy under the full moon, through the forest in silence.

My Garmin had died, so I had no idea how far I’d gone but it seemed I’d been running alone for at least half an hour when I got to a marking on a fence that made me wonder if I was supposed to go through the wide crack in the fence or run along the fence line.  I was freezing, shivering in the night chill and I didn’t want to stand still and wait for Paul and Day to catch up.  Luckily, I saw a blip of light to my left and headed in that direction, with renewed hope.   My teeth were chattering, I could hardly feel my fingers and I was struggling in the temperatures that felt about 32 degrees or so.  When the person with the headlamp reached me I recognized the orange Brooks jacket right away! It was my friend, Mark! I said, “Mark! I’m so happy to see you! I’m so cold, just so cold and tired.”  He was a gentleman and offered me his jacket, which I was thankful for.  It’s the same jacket I was wearing, so it helped a bit but did not really warm me up much.  I continued to stumble forward, feeling very bonky and very, very tired.  I knew my wonderful friend and mentor, Dennis Ahern would be at the next aid station (Slackers – the one we’d also hit at aid #1 and aid #2) and I could not wait to see him!! Mark told me that Dennis had a heater and that made me long for getting there even more.   I’m not sure how far we walked, but it like an eternity and I remember asking, “Are we ever going to get there?”  Poor Mark assured me that we would and that it wasn’t far.

Finally, I saw the glow of the propane heaters and I started stumbling towards the aid station in the night, muttering, “Dennis. Dennis. Dennis!!!”  I staggered into his camp and opened my arms and said, “Ohhhhh, Dennnnissss… I looovveee you sooo much. I was trying so hard to get to youuuuu.”  I know I must have seemed like a total drunk in my horribly exhausted, bonky state, but Dennis has ran more ultras than anyone I know and he embraced me, kissed me on the forehead and said, “I’m happy to see you too, kid!”  Then, he had me sit down by the heater and he offered me a blanket and someone offered me a cup of broth with noodles.  I just wanted to sleep. It was now 19 hours and 52 minutes into my race and it had taken me almost 3 1/2 hours to go the 9 miles from Delamar. I was raw and emotional and totally drained.  My basic human needs were all that mattered:  Sleep, food, warmth.   But, sleep would have to wait.  I still had 3.5 miles to the finish line to go.

Dennis kindly let me borrow his Big Horn 100 miler blanket (which had special meaning to me since Dennis and I had traveled there together two years in a row.) I wrapped it as best  as I could around my frozen body and I stumbled forward into the dark, cold forest on a mission to the finish line.  I had traveled over 64 miles (the amount most 100kers would do that day), but I was not finished yet.  My drunk stumble got wobblier and wobblier as I deliriously tried to follow Mark and Paul as they happily chatted and SANG in the dark.  Paul would belt out, “Call Me Maybe” and wait to see if I’d identify the tune through a raspy, low energy whisper.  I did. And identified,  “Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night by the Black Eyed Peas and “Lucky” before I could no longer even muster the strength to respond at all.   Mark joined in and my brain tried to figure out what exactly crazy dream state this was where two men kept happily singing while I stumbled, wrapped like a human burrito in the dark behind them.   Each time we’d approach a hill, Paul would say, :”Christie! Isn’t this WONDERFUL?! A hill will help warm you up!!” and I’d groan……   Then slowly trudge up.

After what seemed like a million, bajillion years, we finally reached the dirt road. I was very familiar with the road because I’d gone back on it last year several times to run in my friends Michelle, then Tony, then Ryan and Derek (just before they did the sweetest double heel click finish line photo ever known to man!) I did not feel like a heel click, but it did make me emotional thinking of my friends and I missed them all and was eager to get done with the race and be with everyone again.  I knew the road was about 3/4 of a mile (and this of course was the same road we’d started the race on a million hours ago) and when we got close enough to hear the buzz of the generators, I started to stumble faster, tugging my blanket closer to keep out the freezing cold as I started to run again.  And, then we rounded the corner and the people who were amazingly still up at 1:15 am clapped and cheered for me.  Day had caught up and passed me in the final section, so they were welcoming in the last runner — who had been among the first to jump on the course at 4 am the day before.  The first shall be last was my story.  And as I approached the finish line, tears just came spilling down my tired, frozen cheeks. All I wanted to do was stop. To lay down. To be done! And, then I was.

My husband wrapped his strong arms around me and told me he was so proud of me and I just sobbed.  Davina’s cute little son, Tanner handed me my amazing double horseshoe finisher prize (the absolute COOLEST finisher award I have ever owned!)

It had taken me 21 hours and 15 minutes to run the 100k about 3 hours later than I’d hoped to do.  I had traveled over 68.5 miles. I was exhausted. I had done it! I asked my husband to help me get to the camper so I could get warm.  As soon as I stumbled into the blazing heat, I was overwhelmed with gratitude that he’d gotten it toasty for me.  And, there I was again, just as before, in the warm camper, but this time caked in mud and sweat and tears.  I laid down on the bed and closed my eyes and forgot about the pain and the miles and slept the sleep of the righteous (as Dennis always says to us after a race we’ve finished!)

 

The morning after the race, holding my totally cool Silver City 100k finisher horseshoe award! Photo courtesy of Alan Sandquist

The morning after the race, holding my totally cool Silver City 100k finisher horseshoe award! Photo courtesy of Alan Sandquist

 

 

05/5/13

Run Till You Puke Half PR!!

Run Till You PukeAnd Then Run Some More

I have really fallen behind on my blog lately and for that I apologize. It’s been incredibly busy this year, trying to go from directing 5 races in 2012 to 10+ events in 2013! We just put on the Lake Lowell Marathon, Half, 10k and 5k over the weekend for about 350 racers and that is just 3 weeks after directing Bruneau Beast.  Last weekend, we headed out of town for my third Weiser River 50k and I used it as a training run for my upcoming BQ effort at the Famous Potato Marathon and that went exceptionally well.  I ran a PR 50k – 4:56 (bettering my previous time on the course by 9 min, which I was happy about.) I kept the heart rate under control and reminded myself constantly to not “race” it and stuck to the plan!! I ran conservatively enough (about a min per mile slower than BQ pace on rocky terrain) to jump right back into hard training the rest of this week and for that I’m grateful! I was 5th female and 10th overall, which was just icing on the cake! 🙂 We also got to camp out which was a highlight for the five kids!

This past week has been a marathon effort by itself! I got up early to run or ride several days in a row and had so many race director duties that I was just running on empty. I also put on a big birthday party for my son, Joshua’s 11th birthday, which was a fun break and a nice chance to do something special with the family.

I am thoroughly exhausted. I slept less than an hour Friday night (race directors often get very little sleep in the 3 days leading up to a race and I think I got a total of 6 hours in the last 3 nights). Last Saturday I ran a PR 50k and I trained pretty strongly this week, so my body was literally on the brink — which is exactly how it’s supposed to feel as you peak in training two weeks before a marathon, so when our other running pals bailed on us this morning, Ryan A. and I decided to do a RTYP (Run Till You Puke) half marathon run, which is something our buddy, Tony firmly believes in doing two weeks before a strong effort marathon (and Tony has BQ’d more times than anyone I know, so we listen to Tony!)

This was only the second time I’ve done a RTYP and the last time I did one with Tony, Ryan and Dennis, Ryan ran with me and we chatted most of the way, so I never felt it was an all-out effort. That day was a 1:50. My “official” best half marathon time is from the only flatter half I’ve ever done – 3 years ago and that time is 1:53:05 (it might be time to run another this summer…)

Today I ran a 1:44 – better than anything I’ve even done in training (I have ran 1:46 3 x — once in a marathon, twice in a training run that was not a RTYP.)

I collapsed to the ground when I finished, the grass was wet. I didn’t care. I felt tired, hot and ELATED at my progress!!!!!!

I feel as ready as I am ever going to be to BQ in two weeks. I need to be smart with rest, recovery and keeping the legs loose and I think I can do it – FINALLY!!! 😀

Ave HR: 178
Max HR: 188

Splits:
Mile 1: 8:12
Mile 2: 7:57
Mile 3: 7:53
Mile 4: 8:05
Mile 5: 8:02
Mile 6: 7:56
Mile 7: 7:59
Mile 8: 7:55
Mile 9: 7:52
Mile 10: 7:47
Mile 11: 8:16
Mile 12: 7:58
Mile 13: 7:48
Last .10: 6:45

P.S. I did another 5 miles after this which consisted of slow jogging, then walking and finally SLOGGING! I think I’ve reached the end of my energy rope! Time to recover a bit and start getting my mind in a great place before my marathon!!!!