Posted on Jan 27, 2015
It’s as if one could tell a runner’s life story with a quick glance at their Ultrasignup results. We forecast how a runner will do, we decide what makes someone “elite,” we compare, we judge, we examine. I am okay with all of these things on a surface level, but as a runner who did not decide to actually be competitive until a few years ago, I feel that there is so much more to the story than a simple finish time, a placing, a ranking or a DNF. There’s a journey. So it then occurred to me- Ultrasignup should offer a comment line next to each race. Not as a source of excuses or finding ways to creatively type out sandbag stories, but as a way to add color to moments in a runner’s life in a summary of a few sentences. Not everyone has a blog! I’ve spent over 10 years running- I would love to comment on what each day felt like to me. Plus how fun would it be to read someone else’s summary of their day? It would be pure gold.
I thought I would take a few of my races and do exactly that. It was like I walked down memory lane for each race, reliving it as I thought about the highs, lows, the pain, the freedom, the perfect race, the worst race. It was me, a runner, over a decade of growing, learning, living, loving and my ultrasignup results became more than a number- they told a story about me:
Comment: 70 miles of pure highs and lows with crazy thunderstorms, chasing the leaders, working hard in the middle of the night. Vomiting for a long time at mile 70, a long nap in the car, followed by my crew- Roch Horton telling me- “You can’t quit, you can’t run, but you can walk.” And walk for 30 miles, I did. I lived a whole year it felt in those 8 hours. One of my top 3 most memorable and proud runs. I draw on this run over and over again.
Comment: The most beautiful red mountains, crazy slickrock, totally hard course. Being passed by Larisa Dannis, then passing her back and running my best race ever. I felt strong at mile 85, which is always my goal. To push, to run with fire in my heart and to have so much fun with my crew. This stands out as a my best race yet, and I would love to come back here to live this day one more time.
Comment: If you haven’t raced against Jenn Shelton, I highly recommend it. What a day. What a course. Hal puts on a hell of a race and this was so much fun. My dad crewed, I flew, than I bonked hard, then I got lost several times. I got to see what I was made of with a beast of climb at mile 85. Then I cried for the last 10 miles and swore off 100 milers. (Yeah right). I will definitely be back to try this race again.
This is where I learned how to use my breastpump on the uphills in a race. This is also where I lost that same pump on the Bolinas Ridge. What happened after that is hilarious. Eva was 7 months old. I got to see her in the carseat as JB tried to crew me. I felt stronger than I had prior and had a glimpse of a better runner in me. A gorgeous day in the hills of the Headlands and I was so stoked to be there.
Comment: My 30th birthday was on this day. I celebrated with having JB as my pacer, my parents and I saluting my day with Red Bull at 3am. Dancing on the trail, laughing, loving the day. I also learned Ensure is a bad thing for me and I also solidified my love for 100 milers here.
Comment: My very first 100 miler. David Horton’s race! Not sure I knew what I was doing, but man it was fun and hurt all at the same time. The course was quite long- “Horton miles,” I quickly learned. Oh yeah, and I beat my hubby here by a few minutes:)
Comment: The only 100 mile DNF I’ve ever had. I learned what hyponatremia is, what peeing blood looks like and what your mental status does when you know you are done. I learned what it’s like to be F11 at Cal 1, just to be derailed by the river. A race that taught me so much and a course I hope to make proud in the future.
And with that, comes so many smiles, some tears, some laughs but most of all, it tells more of who I was, who I am and what running is to me. That’s a little of what some races looked like for me… What are your memories of your race days if you only had a few sentences?
Posted on Jan 12, 2015
I never thought I could be this busy. Ever. I am back to work, back to training, back to everything times two! So sorry I haven’t gotten to this blog. I am finally able to put the past 4 months in perspective and take a breath. The obvious- my little man arrived. Asher is 16 weeks old and yes, I’m smitten with him. I mean to write up a separate post on his birth story at some point. Mostly because I learned so much this time around and if helps anyone, then awesome. The biggest takeaway for me was learning when it’s best to stop fighting (both physically and mentally) and to let nature take its course. In summary, I had a 13 hour labor (quick by my standards), 45 minutes of it was scary as his heart decelerated and a team ready to take me for a C-section hovered around. I gave in, stopped fighting and got an epidural so that he could turn to face the right way (anterior). My running mind only knows that feeling when shit is going wrong, to start fighting for the finish. But in this case, I had to relax into the pain and lean into something I didn’t want. That lesson is one for the books for me- being stubborn is a virtue, but learning to adapt is what makes you live. I was happy my doctor, an avid runner, and a patient man, gave me the encouragement to get my son out safely. And all resulted in a crying, sweet little boy being laid upon my chest as I cried those tears you never forget when you meet your child for the first time. I quickly got over my plan to go 100% natural and instead was thrilled my son was okay and I left my ego right then and there.
My initial recovery was a little complex- easier than last time, but harder because now I know I can handle more, push harder and my fitness was better throughout my pregnancy. So when the doctor tells you not to run for 6 weeks, you nod and cross your fingers behind your back. I began hiking 3 miles a day starting on day 3 after birth. I ran 7 miles a few days after that and I still had stitches, and my pelvic floor felt like moving rubble. So I backed off the running and kept up the hard hiking. Around day 14, I began running with regularity. 3-5 miles most days, some on trail, some on treadmill with Asher in a baby swing next to me. I kept this up but had continued pelvic floor/low back and hip soreness and just tried to work through it. By the time Asher was 6 weeks, I was logging a few 50 mile weeks and on week 10, I ran the CIM marathon where the wheels fell off completely. I had this inkling that maybe it was too much, too soon, but being the stubborn and much too eager runner, I wanted to run. I started that marathon with a ton of will and determination to maintain 7:15-7:20 pace, but by mile 13, I had to walk, stretch, hit the porta-potty and repeat every couple of miles. These were all issues with hip and postpartum pelvic floor issues that I realized the hard way. Needless to say it was a terribly slow (3:54) painful run that really did cause me a setback. Thanks for embarassing shout out at the finish, Eric Schranz:) I painfully walked my broken body to the car, cried for 10 minutes, slammed a burger while nursing my son and then finally saw the light I needed to take a different path and so I made a list- .1) getting a coach to guide me or actually micro manage the crap out of what I was attempting 2) moving my ultra plans back a few months and 3)getting back on strength training.
So here I sit, 6 weeks post CIM of which 3 weeks were spent completely healing and the last 3 weeks into serious training. My hips are responding really well to the workload. I have long time friend and excellent coach, Jason Koop from Carmichael Training Systems guiding me constantly throughout the weeks. I mean checking in after intense workouts to see if things feel right. We both know that taking the proper time to heal is a priority. But so far, I am feeling really great. I am in physical therapy and pilates every week. I put my first A race ultra on the books for end of March at Gorges Waterfalls 100k. I think I can be ready for that race, and if not, I will know soon and can adjust.
I really want to race Western States and finish and do well. I think it will be on my mind until I do just that. I realize this plan may take a few years and I am okay with that. Having my little boy is worth the time it may take to comeback. But I really hope to make my way to Squaw sometime soon. If not, there are plenty of races to keep me excited and going until then! One is AC100 which I am lucky to be in this August. So now, its just going as hard as I can with juggling my work and my priorities as a mom. More blogs, more regularly I hope!