Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gaining Momentum

When I first decided to run the Zion 100km I also decided to use it as the launching point for my first 100 mile week. I had read somewhere that if you can run 100 miles in a week that you can run a 100 mile race. I am not going to be doing a practice 100 mile race prior to the Leadman competition so this was the next best chance to see if my body was durable enough for 100 miles. The test was completed with a total of 5 days of running, that 62 mile head start was a huge help. I passed, I made it. I know lots of runners run 100 mile weeks, but this runner never had. I still have piles of work to do before I line up on August 17th to run the 100 mile race, (first I have 4 races to complete before I even get there)but I know that I have done lots of work since I took this challenge on and I am making forward progress. I am surrounded by people who believe I can do this, slowly I am starting to be a believer myself. Thanks to everyone who is along for the ride, this journey has been amazing so far and I'm looking forward to the rest of it. Hold on to your hats and glasses we're gaining momentum.

Celebrating my 100 mile week completion

Friday, April 26, 2013

Riding Waves

When I came across an old abandoned wave runner in the bushes next to the trail on my last significant run before the Zion 100km I just thought it was funny. Little did I know it was foreshadowing my experience in my first 100km run. I thought about that pile of junk often during the 62 miles as I rode wave after wave.
some on trail training

When I swim in the ocean I know that some waves I will be able to get through easily, some will give me a push to shore and some will toss me around, hold me under and batter me about. I was soon to discover that running 100km's is much the same way. Some waves would push me towards the finish and others would test my mental and physical strength as I tried to stay afloat. It wasn't the perfect waves that I was seeking on this day though, no I wanted the washing machine style ones that would put my limits under pressure. It is when I am under water being tossed around that I learn the most about my abilities and I grow. While I did appreciate the sets of smooth waves, it was the chop where I gained the most insight.

not so pretty when they are in your foot

The first time I got tossed around a bit was when I was running on the amazing slick rock trail at the top of gooseberry mesa. Now, as a mountain biker I love slick rock, it is so fun to ride. As a runner I learned it is not so fun to run. Imagine running on undulating cement surfaces and you have a slight idea of what it is like. Therefore, anytime I could see a patch of dirt to hit in order to avoid the rock I would take it. That is until I went a little too left on that patch of dirt and took cacti to the outside of my left foot. I wanted challenges and pulling the cacti out of my foot delivered. After I did some trail side first aid I continued running with a throbbing left side of my foot. It was manageable and since you can only feel pain in one place at one time, a bit of a blessing:)


such a fun trail to ride, run not so much;)

Everyone knows that waves come in sets and before you know it a good set rolls through again. I tried to remind myself to appreciate the good when it was present because just like the bad it won't last forever. I continued to have highs and lows throughout the course of the day but even when being tossed around in a wave if you take the time to open your eyes and look around the scenery is amazing. Zion 100 had incredible views, even if it meant climbing up the side of a mesa to get to them. I spent the day learning and am happy to say for the most part I felt strong. My legs held up amazingly well, my feet were a different story. I hit my hydration perfectly but my caloric intake needs some tweaking. I am sure if I can dial that in that I will be able to surf past the 50 mile mark without being thrown about. 

 how low can you feel when you look up and see these views!
When I first was ocean swimming I learned that the most important thing to do when you are being tossed by the massive ocean is to stay calm and relax. The less you panic, the less energy you are using. Being tossed around is when we learn the most about ourselves but I am glad that during this race I also got to ride lots of good waves:)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Be A Weed

'A weed is a plant that has mastered all survival skills except for learning how to grow in rows. Be a weed.' -Doug Larson

When you go by a meadow and it is littered with yellow dots, or white fluffy puffs it looks so pretty, so why when is it on the lawn do people consider it unsightly? I've always thought the dandelion was a pretty flower, my first flower garden featured it. It is a good flower for beginners, or toddlers as was my case, it grows without you doing anything. It is cheerful and useful. Hours of entertainment can be had blowing the puffs into the wind and it is edible (if someone hasn't put weed killer on it). I'm sure many mothers have received their first bouquet from their children with weeds, that makes them precious flowers.

Weeds grow where nothing else does, the first thing to come back after a fire is the weeds. They don't care if the humidity and temperature are perfect, they adapt and grow to the conditions around them. Survivalists not conformists. Who wants to be planted in a row when you can grow in a meadow, not me. I want to be a weed.

Monday, April 8, 2013

40 is the new 20

When you turn 40 they (not sure who 'they' are and why 'they' are experts on this) tell you that it is the new 30. That may be true, unless you enter the world of ultra running. Here being in your 40's and beyond as a woman is even better than you could imagine. These woman are rocking it out. My last 50km had a woman in her 80's running! How many 20 year olds even do that?

Last week 40 was an important number to me. Not because I was turning 40 years old, no that ship has sailed. It was because I was doing a 40 mile training run. Now if you would have told me a year ago that I would be doing a 40 mile training run I would have laughed at you. If I met someone who told me that they went out and did a 40 mile trail run for training I would have been in awe. Well, now I can look in the mirror and be in awe. Not because I think I am awesome or think I am doing anything extraordinary but because I am slowing taming the monster. What once was super scary and really unfathomable is becoming my every day reality. I am slowing chipping away at it, one mile at a time. And guess what? I am having so much fun!

A friend asked me why I am doing this. It's not an unusual question, but usually if someone asks there aren't enough words to explain it. I guess it is because I enjoy working towards something that seems out of reach. Making a plan and executing it and being flexible enough to make adjustments. Testing my limits and finding that they are so much further than I could ever imagine. I'm sure my limits will be stretched extensively from now until the finish line of the Leadman competition.

A year ago 20 miles was a long training run for me. Today 40 is the new 20:)