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I finished the fifty mile run

20987664_1368040853314506_579149930_nI can’t believe the race is finally over and I finished it and can still walk. I was up at five in the morning as check in was at five forty-five and the race started right at six. There were around three hundred runners but it was not a chip event so everyone started at the same time. The interesting thing about ultra events is most of the people are not about sprinting and speed but finishing it. Those that come in first are super fast but the majority are just normal people like me.

The first fifteen miles went by pretty fast and I felt great and then the uphill climb started and lasted eight miles. The course was on the Mickelson trail and was an old railroad track so the grade was between 1-4%. I had run hills all summer but not one continuous uphill thing for eight straight miles. So pretty much mile fifteen until twenty-three was awful. When I finally reached the check station before the turn around Brian asked if I wanted him to come down with me and take my picture. I said yes of course.

When the aid station asked if there was anything they could do for me I said “please kill me!” They asked me how I wanted it done and I said quick and fast. At least I knew that in two miles I would be headed downhill for eight miles. I was slowing down a bit as the temperature reached a maximum of 88 degrees with full sun on most of the trail. I realized around mile thirty I would not make the twelve-hour mark I had in my head.

The next difficult section was mile forty to forty-five because it was another straight climb up. I was about ready to off myself and questioning why I ever opened my mouth and said I want to run fifty miles for my fiftieth. I also realized that the cutoff was sixteen hours because this course was tough. The original run I had planned to do back in April was pretty much flat and had a twelve-hour cutoff. I thought I was never going to reach mile forty-five and see Brian but I did and he was drinking beer with a buddy he had gotten to know over the day. His brother was running ahead of me. His new friend said its all down hill and I said again just kill me but I took off for the most mentally challenging section.

I was tired and I wanted to die. I had three huge blisters on my feet. My music died with one mile left but I dug deep. I thought about all the ridiculous things I had done to prepare for this race. Back when I was training for the 50K, I did my 26 mile training run on a cruise ship in the dining area because it was raining. I ran 28 miles at the Arnold Recreation Center because it was going to be over 100 with the heat index. I got up and ran when I didn’t want to. I had made it to twenty-four miles of long runs when I came down with the five-week headache and then picked out a new race and started the training over again. I told myself if you can do all this five miles is just from your house to Imperial main street where you get a drink and use the bathroom.

Finally I saw the track that I was going to finish on and I started crying. This made running impossible, not that I could run even if I tried. I just thought back to how this all started over a year ago on fourth of July weekend when I remembered I said I wanted to run fifty and my birthday was the next year. I found the training plans and wrote it out and didn’t look back. And now I can say I finished the beast in 13:57:38. There were 10 gals in my age group 50-59 and I came in third! I really thought I would be more like second to last so then I start thinking maybe I should do another one. Then I smacked myself upside the head and came back to reality.

 

Mole Moral ~ When you set a goal and achieve it, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.

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Taper: A runners best friend

For anyone that has formally trained for a race, they know what taper means. Taper usually occurs a couple of weeks before the race and where the amount of miles dramatically decreases. My training for the fifty mile had three weeks of taper and it came in the nick of time, as I was about ready to throw in the towel and say forget the race.

I left for camp on a Saturday at midnight. That friday I ran 28 miles at the indoor track. It took me almost seven hours and something like 330 laps. Around mile 18 I hit the I’m going to die of boredom wall and by mile 26 I seriously wanted to off myself. The next day I was back for another 12 miles. It was so mentally challenging I am not sure how I did it. Sunday I was on the bus until six in the evening. Monday I got up and ran 12 miles, Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 4. That was 62 miles in six days with camp factored in. I saw 55 kids and was woken up at least twice in the middle of the night that week. It is no wonder I had a headache the entire way home on Friday. I blew off my second 28 mile run that saturday because I was exhausted and cut Sunday’s in half. I think I forgot I’m twice as old as twenty-five and may have over did it just a bit. The next week every run was a nightmare, I had to force myself out the door.

This week was much better. I had a six-mile and a four mile during the week and that was it. It was during this time Brian had gotten on the race website and found the course had finally been posted. I discovered that there would be stops every five miles with food, drinks and bathrooms. I had previously thought it would be every ten miles. Also every stop was accessible by vehicle with driving directions so Brian was nominated as my crew person. He seems to be taking it very seriously. I was pretty excited to think I would get to see him every five miles and not have to carry a million things with me. He can bring me drinks and food and anything else I need. Yesterday I got an email from the race with details of what to expect. Sometime in the next couple of days I will know what my bib number is. That was super exciting.

Today was the first ten-mile run I have done in I don’t know how long that I didn’t want to stay in bed. The weather was gorgeous and I didn’t even start until eight. I ran faster than I have in a long time and I’m telling you it’s because of taper. The body needs the rest so it can gear up for the big run. I actually was envisioning myself crossing the finish line and having pictures taken. I’m starting to get just a little excited for next Saturday. This weeks runs are a 4, 3, and then a 2 mile run. It is the only time the entire 20 weeks that I have had a run less than 4 miles. I won’t know what to do with only two miles. But the key is not to go running more and stick to the schedule. This will not be an issue for me! I am looking forward to my mileage being so much less, this has felt like a full-time job and everyone knows I am part-time girl.

 

Mole Moral ~ Rest, it does a body good!

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Session 3 The Fight filter

The morning talk started with the comfort filter which is the best life is an easy life. That’s such an easy way to live, however it causes these issues:
1. Slow is bad (no patience for anything.
2. Hard is bad.
3. Boring is bad.
4. Risk is bad.
5. Work is bad.
By seeing the world through this filter causes you to run from the difficult, the daunting, and the dangerous. Of course I immediately start thinking of my upcoming fifty mile race in just 22 days. It most certainly fits all three categories. Difficult you bet. The training alone has been a nightmare especially in the middle of the heat wave. Running fifty plus miles a week is difficult both mentally and physically. I have to carve out huge chunks of time on the weekend to get them done. Is it daunting, you bet it is. I cannot think of it as fifty miles in twelve hours or less but more in five-mile blocks of time. Otherwise it is extremely overwhelming. Is it dangerous? You better believe it is. Without proper hydration and fuel I could easily end up in the hospital. Just moving non stop for twelve hours can be considered dangerous. Not everyone has been encouraging and I could have easily listened to them and took the comfort filter and said no way. When I had the five-week headache and had to change my race I could have also said forget it. This last month with the heat index and the mega distance, I have had to pull in every encourager into my head to move on and finish this.
So the enemy’s (Satan) goal is to make us complacent. He wants us to settle for the life we have because we become lazy, apathetic, and comfortable which keeps us from fighting. The way to get out of comfortable and into fight mode is to get off your BUT (please note the spelling).
I want to stop drinking at parties BUT all my friends are doing it and it’s fun.
I want to wait until marriage for sex BUT kissing etc feels so good.
I want to lose weight BUT exercise takes too much time and meal planning.
I want to be better mentally BUT counseling is too expensive and too hard.
Gerald concluded with the three ways to fight:
1. Be great
2. Be good (morals, character)
3. Be Godly

Mole moral~I shall run my fifty mile race knowing that God made it possible and may he shine through me.

 

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Postponing the fifty mile ultra marathon

I’ve been waiting a while to write this blog because honesty it sucks. However, I have known since three days after I came home from the hospital I was going to have to postpone my fifty mile run. Today was my first training run since February first and there is no way after not running for five weeks I could jump back into it and do forty plus miles a week. That would most certainly lead me to an injury and a visit to Dr. Larkin. I have not seen him in over three years and even though he is super easy on the eyes, I still do not want to have to visit him.

I thought I would be a lot more upset about this than I actually am. The first time I said it out loud, I almost broke down into tears but after that it hasn’t been an issue. I guess the main reason is because I had no control over getting a headache. If I had to postpone because I was just lazy and didn’t do the training it would be one thing but a medical condition makes it much easier to cope with.

Last week I started looking up fall races and I was getting highly discouraged. There was one that said the trail was marked with markers on trees. I immedialty eliminated that one because I have zero GPS skills and would be lost out on the trail for hours until a search and rescue team came and found me. A lot of them were like up and down mountains (I’m exaggerating a little) and I am not ready for that kind of craziness ~ yet. So I finally found one in South Dakota at Custard State Park. The park is located right by Mount Rushmore and The Crazy Horse Memorial. About twelve years ago the girls and I visited it with Brian’s parents. It seems as if Brian went fishing in Canada that year and skipped it. So I am totally excited he will get to see it. Devils tower is two hours away so I am already planning the insane road trip. I priced to fly out there and with it being 800 a person I said we are driving. My goal is to find some other places to see on the way back. I am so looking forward to this adventure because if it is half as crazy as our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary we will have a blast.

I fully believe everything happens for a reason. Perhaps had I run in Springfield I would have fallen and broken my ankle. Another thought I would have had a heart attack and drop dead. Or even worse someone coming to watch me would have been in a car accident. This change allows Brian and I to have another vacation alone with just the two of us. We have only taken one by ourselves a couple other times the entire time we have been married. Yes I will admit and say I am really excited about this. Now to stay injury free and start training. The two bad things about starting over is I already did the first eight weeks or so and they were hard. I am not looking forward to that and now I get to run huge long distances in the summer. Due to a lack of winter, I am afraid this summer will be unbearable but whatever doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger. So official training starts the first week of April and until then I will be trying to build my stamina back up. After five weeks my cardio has shot craps and todays four mile walk/run was hard.

 

Mole moral ~ What you work at, you get better at. What you don’t work at, you get worse at. (Pastor Tom Noblitt on marriage)

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My First Ultra Marathon

I committed to doing a 50K back in August and at that time the race was going to be held in Derby Kansas on a flat 5 mile loop. I remember thinking great six times around and I am finished and flat is awesome since I run on the side of a highway up and down hills. About two weeks before the race, I got a notification it had been moved to Wichita which was actually about twenty minutes closer which was fine. It was only right before I left that I was told it was a small race with a 0.86 mile loop to run around. WOW!

Emily got help up in clinical’s so I put where we were going into the phone to discover we would make it right on time. At exactly one minute to seven we arrived at our destination which was not the park, but the hotel we were staying at. Of course I put the hotel address in and not the park. The park was eight minutes away so I said lets run over there just in case they are still there. Yes, the girl coordinating it was still there and informed me there were exactly nine runners participating and I looked at the course. Emily started laughing and I was thinking, only me.

The shirt was really super nice so I figured the belt buckle would be too. Apparently ultramarathon’s you get a belt buckle instead of a medal. I can work with that. So we went and checked into the hotel, went out to eat and then went to bed. We arrived the next day and met all eight other runners. There was a father and his eleven year old son doing the full-marathon, three of us doing the 50K, two doing the 50 mile and two doing the 100 mile. I was talking to the girl who was doing the 50K with me, she had just done an iron-man and ran the entire marathon portion. She was all nervous about the 50K and I was thinking girl you have this in the bag. The girl in charge asked me if I wanted to switch out my bib for an ankle one. I said heck yes and felt that would be less annoying. I then felt like I was on house arrest.

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Because of the short loop, everyone started at a different starting point and I was informed I would be doing 36 loops. Ultra’s are run totally different from regular races. First of all, it is not about speed and how fast you can go. It’s not about running through the drinking stops and getting mad about the people who stop and drink. They had an entire spread at the shelter with food and drinks. The race supporters said if we needed anything they didn’t have they would go and get it for us. So when it’s time to eat, people stopped in and spent a few minutes, it wasn’t shove the food in your mouth while running as fast as you can.

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At the beginning everyone was passing me and I had to remind myself this is not a competition and run/walk the way you have trained for the past three months. So off I went and I was faster than I thought i would be but then again I was running on flat and I hadn’t really run much the entire summer because I didn’t want to get injured and get knocked out of this event. It was super windy and after the race people were complaining about it. I wish you could have seen the look on everyone’s face when I told them I did my 26 mile run on the cruise ship in the middle of the storm. See everything works out for a reason.  I eat and drink every five miles so that was one reward to keep me going, I told myself at mile 10, 21 and 26 I would text people to tell them where I was at. I actually did not hit the 20 mile wall like I did in both training runs. I remember when my Nike guy said 13 miles left thinking oh that’s a half marathon, a piece of cake, you got this. Now the father and the son running the marathon passed me at least three or four times. However, they made the rookie mistake and started out way too fast and I ended up finishing 26 miles before them. The kid was cute as heck and when they were driving off he yelled at me out the window, good job, keep it up. It was when I had five miles left that i texted Emily and told her if she didn’t arrive soon with Gatorade I was going to die. They had a drink called Heed which in my delusional state I swore said Hemp. It was electrolyte based (I think) but no sugar. Emily and Allyson finally arrived with four laps left and I inhaled the Gatorade and it gave me just enough of a sugar rush to finish the race! It was glorious crossing the finish line, still standing and feeling good. Less than a minute behind me came the guy running the fifty mile race and he broke the Kansas record. That was super exciting!

I received the belt buckle and they gave me two extra for my crew. Allyson was really excited because she wanted mine to start with. I did make those two run and get me different head phones and bring me Gatorade before I died so they earned their medals. I did learn a few things for the fifty mile. I need to carry a bottle with water to fill up at the water stops, especially since that race is 25 out and back. I need someone with me that can bring me stuff I may need while I am running. So I am going to have to recruit the family as my crew. I am also going to have to find other things to eat besides GU. By mile 30, I was ready to puke from the sugar rush and if I never see that stuff again, it won’t be too soon. I also received a trophy for second place!

We went for ice-cream after the race. They have Brahms which is Emily’s favorite from Oklahoma. I had peppermint and it was really good. We then drove back home and I finally got to shower. I have never felt so gross in my entire life. Emily and I went out to eat but Allyson stayed in because she is a home body and said we had been out too much. Allyson and I drove home on Sunday which about killed me. My legs would tighten up to the point i had a really hard time walking. But we made it back in time for teenage church so it was all good. I have about an eight week “break” before training starts for the fifty mile. I’ve looked at it and it is super intense and will keep me busy.

Everyone finished their races except for the guy doing the 100 mile. It was his first attempt and he dropped out after 63 miles. The girl who finished her 100 mile, it was her fourth in less than a year so she qualified for the gram slam from Kansas I think. She told me she would crawl to the finish if she had too. She finished in 27 hours which is completely crazy if one thinks about it logically. But I was so happy to see she finished. The race was awesome, the runners were awesome, and the course support people were phenomenal. This was one of the best experiences of my life!

 

Mole Moral~Brian finally has a trophy wife!

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Death Valley

The idea to visit Death Valley came about this past June when my mom, Allyson, and I all visited Uncle Larry in South Carolina. My mom wanted to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway because she heard it was beautiful. While we were driving it, I noticed it was a national park. After arriving back to Uncle Larry’s house I googled national parks and Death Valley came up. So then I google Death Valley and came across a book called To the Edge: A Man, Death Valley, and the mystery of Endurance. It’s about a writer who was to cover an ultramarthon race in Death Valley valley and decided to run it himself with only seven months training. After I finished the book I knew I had to visit and informed Brian that we would be going there for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. I really had no idea what to expect.

There are only three places to stay unless you want to camp. (Not this girl). Furnace creek, stovepipe wells, and Panamint springs. When I was pricing them some of the rooms at furnace creek were 600 a night. I eliminated that place really quick and it was by far the nicest from the outside. It seems like Panamint springs was not open which is just as well because it looked a little shabby. We stayed at stovepipe wells which was in the middle. It got its name back in the day as the only well around. Miners would come to find it and someone finally stuck a stovepipe up to mark it. It is no longer in use but can be seen three miles away. However due to the rain the night before that road was closed. It was the same road that ran to Scotty’s Castle which was also closed. Actually the rainstorm stranded a group of people up there for 24 hours.

No one lives in death valley except the people who work there. There are no subdivisions or anything.

The race starts at badwater which is 279 feet below sea level and the lowest point in North America. I wanted to see this most of all but it had been closed for a week due to the rain they received the week before. We were able to see it from Dantes pass which was 5000 feet above sea level. The hotel was at sea level and it was 80 degrees and Dantes pass was 60. The change in temperature and air pressure related to how far above sea level we were was really fascinating. The race ends at Mt. Whitney which is 8300 feet above sea level. The race goes past all three hotels and is 135 miles long. I thought it was a slow climb, boy was I ever wrong. We drove part of the course as they run right on the highway. It’s climbing up and down 5000 feet at least three times. It’s total insanity.

There were a few things open to see and they were really cool. Brian and I hiked 2 miles into a canyon which said do not attempt of rain predicted. We quickly realized even .2 inch of rain would cause flash flooding and down pouring of water. The ground is so hard it doesn’t absorb much of anything so rain washes everything out.

I wanted to see the place that actually has fish but it was rained out. The place with the moving rocks also not available. I did convince Brian to drive down rainbow canyon and it was kind of like Dorothy waking up in Oz. This area receives a lot more rain. There were big trees and they were green. I found red and yellow plants. Some of the trees had orange flowers. There was an 8 mile hike we wanted to do but we had no time. We had to leave for the Grand Canyon. The colors were awesome but I’m an earth color person.

There is so much more to see and do that I already told Brian I want to come back for my big birthday. It is only a ninety minute drive from Vegas. I would like to stay for five days. This means I need to work on upper body and core so we can do some of the harder hikes.

 

Mole moral~ you just never know what agreeing to walk a half marathon with Jen P and Erin S would lead to six years later. That led to running which lead me to the book which brought me to Death Valley the most awesome place I’ve ever been.