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A Girl’s Guide to Trail Running » 2013 » January
 
1

The Lost Art of Respect, Damn I’m being honest, A Synchroblog attempt.

Posted on Jan 31, 2013

Respect gives a positive feeling of esteem or deference for a person or other entity(such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem. (Wikipedia def).

Conduct representative of that esteem.  Hmmm. So making judgement, perhaps?  Specifically, the judgement of others and of your own self.  Let’s start with the first- judging others.  Have you ever been in line at the grocery store only to catch a glimpse of the toddler in the aisle next to you screaming, “I want this mommyyyyy.”  The flustered mother then gives the aforementioned child the prize.  You immediately and without reservations think, “Weak.”

About 2 years, and 4 months ago, me and my large belly and even more sizeable notions of parenthood would absolutely have fallen into the trap.  What did I know about discipline, wild toddler emotions, exhaustion?  Absolutely nada.  I was so naive and in love with the ideal situation.  I would sing to my child, decorate her nursery and dream of how lovely life would be. Falling down the slippery slope…not dreaming, but idealizing.  The greatest thing happened when my world got rocked by a 30 hour labor, pre-pregnancy jeans that didn’t fit for weeks, a 10 mile run 6 weeks after giving birth that hurt more than my first hundred miler, and boobs that inflated and deflated like Lance Armstrong’s ego.  Then, I got it.  I fully respected and appreciated the life of a parent.  All eye rolls came to a halt.   At least eye rolls of others.  Then, my judgement took a personal direction.  I began to doubt myself.

The internal judgement has always been somewhat of a personal trait.  The A-type kid in school, never knowing thy own limits, a people pleaser at the expense of myself.  Then, came the bout of “you are not good enough.”  Where did all my self respect go?   I watched other mothers around me stay at home, make homemade Halloween costumes and attend school fundraisers.  I participated in all of those things with my child, but was no stranger to buying tinkerbell wings at Target or having Eva make cupcakes that came out of a box.  I had guilt for working, for running and again for running.  My extended family judged me for trying to run, be a wife, mother and professional.  They would tell me to give it up. My husband did not.  He supported me, and Eva loved me despite the gluten free boxed treats and actually our little, crazy adventurous life was working pretty well.  So why the guilt?  Because our life does not reflect most.  We don’t fit into a box that comes with a pretty little label.  I recognized that would be the case from early on. But it still bothered me.  I found myself making justifications. Why? Who cares?  Then one day, just this year actually, I had the revelation.  Your child doesn’t need the perfect parent.  Just a parent that is good enough.

My Christmas gift from my colleagues... Believe woman!!

Eva is loved, supported and is flourishing.  She’s knows what GU chompies are, and has mud filled shoes from our hikes and adventures and aid station based time-outs, but that is what will make her independent and unique.  So wait, I’m not a bad parent after all?  I guess I can say, no.  I am working on letting my idealist ways go by the way side and chilling out.  This is a daily battle for me.  But I am getting there.  To learn to tune out your own negative thoughts and the judgement of others is so freeing.

What about the runner in me?  Why I have doubted her for so long?  In the same vein as a parent with self doubt, comes the self doubt as a runner.  I have taken my time as an ultrarunner.  I ran for 5-6 years with absolutely no agenda, no schedule, sometimes no training and just had fun bathing myself in a supportive, lively community.  Ultimately, in ultrarunning, the lack of judgement and feeling of respect is what drew me in right from the go. So what happened?   FEAR.  I realized there was more in me than I had ever given myself credit for.  I was scared.  I didn’t think I belonged in the front of the race- I doubted me and I let it put me where I thought I should be.  I respected other runners but didn’t respect myself.  I also didn’t respect that I deserved to do well.  PRESSURE.  I let the pressure of needing to prove something,mostly to myself, ruin more than one race.  Its a huge transition to go from casual runner to competitive runner.  It took time and I respect that process.  I’ve also said that in prior posts, I must stay flexible with my expectations.  As one continuum of a linked existence, I must realize many nights are sleepless, training can come and go, and the A type girl in me must let go.  OVER IT.  Now, that little devil sitting on my left shoulder gets flipped the bird quite often.  I tell it to shut the hell up and let the flow of the day, of my legs, of my breath take over.  You can do well, but only if you allow yourself to.  You can quite literally derail all of your training if you don’t believe in yourself and respect your ability.  I am my own worse critic.  Always have been, always will be.  But becoming a mom, has allowed me to step back and learn that you only need to be good enough. And to laugh at what life throws at me.  And that deserves some respect.

There are some other amazing blogs to go check out:

Liza Howard

Jimmy Dean Freeman

Olga King

Katie Desplinter

Nathan Coury

 

 

 
8

Bandera 50K, Some may call it a Hoka-mance.

Posted on Jan 21, 2013

After a quick evaluation of my year’s plans and a frank conversation or two with a friend and the hubby, the decision to drop down to the 50k was an easy one.  That was, until we got to the race check in at Bandera and I found myself deep in thought.  Should I just buck up and run the 100k cause I need the miles? What is the definition of need?  New Year’s resolutions aren’t going to last if you can’t even make it past January.  And with that, I shuffled bibs and packets and chip timing anklets and it was done.  I got to catch up with my relatively unknown Hoka teammate Karl Meltzer.  I know, you probably haven’t heard of him, but I hear he’s gonna be a big star.  Keep your eyes out for him.  After a Go Team Hoka cheer and secret handshake,  we departed the registration area.

It's just a 50K

Eventually JB and I found our hotel at a Dude Ranch just near Bandera, called the Flying L Ranch.  We opted out of the “dude’ amenities- i.e, horseback riding, the 10lb breakfast plate buffet and cowboy karaoke, and just took the room.  With bunk beds that would have made Eva very happy and a copper sink to boot, it was a nice little place to stay.  With a very civil race start time of 7:30, we set the alarm for 6am and slept away under rainy Texas skies.

Tip#1 lay out your race kit night before. Works like a charm

Morning proved a gloomy, foggy and drizzly start to the day.  One thought came to mind: mud.  An otherwise, rocky, slippery course without rain, was now going to have a little extra challenge added in.  Most remarkably however, was that, over a 1000 people filed into the start area- many were running the 25K, about 300 were in the 50K, and maybe 200 were running the 100k.  JB and I were running late, as usual, and mostly by design.  I hate getting to races too early, standing around, looking at my garmin over and over and over.  So we threw the keys down near our rental car, and ran to the start, where Timothy Olson and I got a chance to jog a warmup. I then got to say hello to fellow runner Denise Bourassa and  proceeded to give my hubby a happy anniversary kiss and good luck hug. I might have smacked his butt for a little extra go. Apologies for all the PDA.

Then we were off.  Denise burned out of the start and I wasn’t too far behind.  I have tons of respect for her as a great ultrarunner and also a really nice person.  I knew she and I would race a bit and it could be anybody’s day.  After about a mile into the race and some pretty steep climbs, I found myself right on her heels and  in that moment, I just felt good and decided I would go ahead. It was an aggressive pace on the climb, and I thought I would calm it down and just stay within myself and it would be however it was supposed to be.

The trails were sticky clay, with lots of slippery rock unfolding to thicker mud that was accumulating fast.  It would only get worse as the humidity was saturating the air and the drizzly effect just made everything wet.  The sotol cactus would sting my quads and leave streams of blood running down my legs.  It looked awesome and so dramatic.  Actual race photos show me appearing to be a drowned rat with a muss of tangled, wet hair. Solutions for long tangled hair, ladies? Anyway, a shower that night would reveal some pretty good quad carnage from the cactus alone.

Aid station after aid station and the miles kept coming quickly.  About mile 20, I hit my first bad patch.  I was putting in so much effort to run a speedy pace, but the mud added several pounds to each leg. Good, I thought- I was glad I skipped my weight lifting routine that morning.   The sliding, slipping and slogging were tiring the legs out pretty good.  I remember forcing in about 3 GU vanilla gels in about 30 minutes to give myself as many calories as I could.  I raced the whole 50K on about 10-11 GU’s and nothing else but maybe a swig of Red Bull at mile 25.   I kept glancing at my garmin and not understanding how I could be running so slow.  My initial thought was about a 4:30 for the course but it wasn’t adding up that day and so I covered my watch up and stopped trying to make sense of the slogging.

I kept getting reports along the way that JB was racing well and was in 3rd place.  So to my surprise, I was shocked to see him at mile 23 walking down the trail.  It was our 11th wedding anniversary that very day.  And probably near that very moment we exchanged our vows in a lovely little chapel that was once part of the high school we attended, with sun glowing behind the stained glass. I guess you don’t forget those things.  For better, for worse, and here we were, so many years and so many miles later, suffering to some degree to make it to the finish.  Oh the irony.  The I loves you were exchanged and tears started flowing when I passed him.  I had to shut it out of my mind to keep from hyperventilating.  I had more motivation than ever to try to pull out this win.

Armadillos are actually very fast

And so I did.  The last 3 miles hurt real good.  4:58 and 7th place overall.  I got a real nice roadrunner that now sits in Eva’s room-she calls it Mommy’s rooster.  JB came in about 15 minutes later and then Denise a few minutes after that.  I hugged everybody with sweaty, muddy hands and arms and called it a day.  Joe Prusaitis puts on a fine, fine race.  JB, Timothy (men’s winner in 4:18) and I sat around drinking wine and watching the 100k runners come in.  A very impressive run by Sage Canaday with an 8:13 and new CR. Hoka teammate Dave Mackey took 2nd and Karl took 4th with a beer in hand- he’s a freak as he will tell you.  Super proud of the team’s efforts that day.  Tough conditions play to our strengths no doubt.

More than anything, I was so happy to have a moment with my hubby and a day that I won’t soon forget.

Race Kit:  Hoka one one Sinson Evo’s- never fell once, Drymax 1/4 crew trail sock- my feet looked so nice you could kiss em, GU energy lab- Roctane, Vanilla and PB GU’s and 1 bottle of GU brew, Vespa, Succeed salt tabs and a big swig of Red Bull.

Headed out on the town to celebrate

 

 
5

2013 Plans. Dreaming Big, Getting Real, Totally.

Posted on Jan 10, 2013

2012 was major. It was filled to the brim with running (a total of 9 race starts and 8 finishes, see Western States DNF), working hard at a corporate job (that I really do love) and being mommy.  I was also honored to begin running for Hoka One One, an amazing company that is as close to the sport of ultraunning as it gets.  I feel so blessed, every single day.

I sit here with my third cup of coffee, cause lets face it, sleep is a sore subject. Ever heard of those horror stories- “my kid didn’t sleep through the night until he was like 10.”  I kinda think we are on that projectile.  I can count on my hands the nights of sleep that were 7-8 hours the past 6 months.  Most of this last year I logged 4-6 hours a night interrupted continually by an adorable blonde headed girl poking my side at 2am.   But despite never feeling recovered and the new forehead wrinkles, I couldn’t be happier with our out of control, loving life till you puke or just pass out approach. I was overjoyed at watching my daughter turn into a full fledged little girl, complete with phrases, like “No Mommy, I will get dressed myself.” or ” Mommy, are you happy?” or “Mommy let’s have Gigi over for some wine. ” (Whoops- I must learn to conceal my beverage or at least tell her its grape juice).  Eva is an old soul, and understands so much more than I think she does.  We’ve fallen head over heels for her sense of humor, her witty responses and her toleration of our hectic schedules.

2013 plans are in the works.  I must say I have a hard time not “wanting it all.”  But here’s where I get a glimmer of myself maturing, ever so slightly. Picking races that 1) take me to unique places 2) satisfy my quest for competition 3) make sense for our family and 4) are spaced appropriately for optimal recovery and training if at all possible.  Some of these requirements I missed by a long shot last year- especially the ‘ol Speedgoat, Waldo, Pine to Palm 100 combo in about 7 weeks time total.  But thank god I surround myself with people much wiser than I, who can tell me I am nuts and to pull the reigns back a bit.  Still, this is my struggle.

I couldn’t be more proud to run for Hoka One One, GU Energy Labs, Drymax Socks and Vespa Fuel. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.  These companies are solid, run by real people who understand what we do when we put it on the line.  I believe whole-heartedly in each of them and without them this sport would be severely lacking. They are a huge help to me and to so many others.

The tentative race schedule for 2013 is

1/12/2013 Bandera 100k or 50k (TBD- yes only days away and not sure which distance I want to run.  Although my “running advisors” aka hubby and life coach, Jimmy Dean Freeman, tell me the 50k is smarter choice, since I lucked out on a WS lottery ticket)

2/3/2013 Ray Miller 50K

3/22/2013 Antelope Island Buffalo Run 100 Miler ( so in love with the scenery I want to go back for two loops)

5/11/2013 Transvulcania 83K, Spain (Skyrunning Series is my main focus this year and Spain my most favorite country on the planet, so duh).

6/29/2013 Western States 100 Miler (I will quarantine myself and my daughter for 2 weeks prior)

7/29/2013 Speedgoat 50K ( I so want to be a better mountain goat)

9/28/2013 UROC (the 3rd Skyrunning Ultra and in Colorado, so yes, this is awesome)

 

Sounds like a lot and it is, but I am inspired thus far.  The Skyrunning Ultra Series is so attractive to me and I hope to learn how to run really tough, tough courses.  I also want to do well at Western States, but this year its all about peace and letting go of fear.  Maybe we watch Lion King a bit much in this house, but if I can learn to “Hakuna Matata” then all will be okay.

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