Monday, April 11, 2016

But what if you fly?

I ran the El Dorado half marathon a little over a week ago. I didn't have great expectations going into it because I had been training for a 50K, but then decided not to do that, and hadn't done much speedwork. I had the fast 5K, but I didn't know how my new speed would translate to a half marathon. I was so scared going into it. I knew I wanted to run it in under 2:20. In the back of my head somewhere, I thought that 2:15 would be really cool. I tried that in September though, and it was a massive failure.

Leading up to the race I came up with a pacing plan. I knew if I had a great day it would work. I was afraid I was going to fail though. I knew how bad going out too fast could blow up on me, and I didn't want that to happen. Race morning I felt pretty good, and the weather was perfect. Sunny, not too windy, and chilly. My mom came with me, so that was exciting. We rode over with Cristy because she was running the 5K. The plan was for her to watch me start, then run her race, then come find me on the course to cheer for me. She was very encouraging when I was nervous. It was a pretty small field of runners, so I thought there was a decent chance they'd all pass me pretty early on and I'd be at the back. That didn't really happen. What happened is that very early on, the field separated into three groups. There were the fast runners out front, then just a few of us in the middle, and then way behind me was another big group. This meant I was running alone most of the race. I think as the race went on people spread out more, but in the beginning it seemed like they were bunched together.

To hit a 2:20 finish, my average pace needed to be 10:41. I wanted to stay between 10:15 and 10:30 for the first 5 miles. Mile 1 was was really fast. Too fast, but I felt good. Mile 2, same story. By mile 3 I could feel that I was going too fast, so I slowed down but stayed within my goal. Same for mile 4. Mile 5 felt great, until the end. I looked ahead and could see the mile 5 sign, and it was partway up a hill. It was a big hill, but I thought surely it wasn't too bad. The problem was that I couldn't see all of it. I think mile 6 was almost completely uphill. Then we turned into the wind, which had picked up. Miles 6-8 were really windy and really hilly, and I hit a low spot. My stomach was cramping, the wind and hills were awful, and every ache and pain I have felt the last few months reappeared. I kept pushing and thought that no matter what, I'm just doing the best I can. I stopped looking at my watch.

At the end of mile 8, we turned and had a nice long downhill. We were also no longer running into the wind. I started perking up. I looked at my watch, realized I had less than 5 miles to go, and that I was on pace for 2:15, and that I felt great. I knew I had suffered through a lot of 5 mile runs, so unless something happened, I was probably going to do it. This is when I thought of a quote I love.

Here it is:

I was still afraid I might fall. I might run one more mile at this pace and blow up and have to walk the rest of the way. Should I keep pushing? What if I fail? Oh, but what if I fly? What if I just give it all I've got, and I succeed? I decided that sink or swim, I was going for it. 

I was almost to mile 10, and turned, and saw a big hill. There were some volunteers there and I said "oh, well that sucks" and they laughed and told me I get to turn halfway up. I got to the turn, and I saw my mom, Cristy, Danielle, and her friend Alyssa. I cried, because it's what I do. I was so happy to see them. I asked Cristy what her time was, and she had killed it, so that pumped me up. I grabbed a gel from Danielle and kept running. I turned around to yell that I was on target to finish in 2:15. I seriously felt like I was flying at that point. I don't think I have ever felt so good in a race. I had gone a little ways when I realize that the girls had been holding up signs, and they had something on their head. I realized it was unicorn horns, but I was thoroughly confused. With the highs come lows, and shortly after I saw them came another crash. I ate a gel, and that perked me up. We also started seeing a lot of crowd support the last few miles. I love it when people set up in their driveways to cheer for runners! It helps so much. My favorite are the little kids that give high 5's. I think I had about 2 miles to go and I saw Mom, Cristy and the girls again. I was getting pretty tired at that point. I finally read the signs and one said "It's a unicorn day." I had posted on my last blog that to hit my goal I needed to have a unicorn day. It was so cute and funny that it cheered me right back up. The other sign said something about donuts. Danielle thinks it's pretty cool that I eat donuts when I run. 

Mile 12 was a struggle, but was ok. Mile 13 was rough. I knew I only had 1 mile to go though, and I needed to push to make it. The last little section of the race was a bit confusing, because they had part of the road blocked off, but the volunteers were directing us to run on sidewalks. Since I was alone I really had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. I wanted to be on the road, but stayed where I was told to be. When I got back close to the finish the sidewalk was full of people, so I went back onto the road. When I tuned the last corner I could see the sign and could see how close I was to 2:15. I feel like I sprinted through here, but it was probably only a jog. In my head I forgot that the race is chip timed and what is on the clock wasn't my real time. I was determined to finish before 2:15! 

I crossed the finish line and looked at my watch, and it said 2:14:47. WOW!! I cried. I hugged my mom. I posed for pictures with the girls and their sign. I felt like I was flying again! I don't know how I did it. I think lifting is helping. I'm running shorter and faster, and man is it fun. I can't keep having huge PR's, but I'll take it while it lasts! 

This was a great race and I would highly recommend it! My only complaints are that the cups of water were tiny and didn't have much in them, and the end was a little confusing. They had so many volunteers though, and it's an excellent course. I'd love to do it again someday. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Where did that come from?

I realize that I bragged about this all over Facebook, but I haven't blogged about my recent 5K race with a huge PR. If you've been dying to hear the details, and just admit it, you have, this is your chance!

Several weeks ago my friend Cristy mentioned that she and another friend, Joy, were doing a St. Patrick's Day 5K and had a team and registration was cheap. I thought it sounded like a fun idea, so I signed up. I quickly began thinking that I've been getting faster and maybe this was finally my chance to run a 5K in under 30 minutes. The only thing I did for a while was thinking about that, and not actually do any work toward it. Several days before the race I decided I was going to do a 3 mile treadmill run at race pace to see if I could do it. I had no real faith in my ability to get it done. None. I got up in the morning anyway and headed to the gym, determined that I was going to give it everything I had. Cristy sent me several encouraging messages, and I got started. I did it! I couldn't believe it, but was very hopeful for the weekend. I needed more miles that day, so after work I headed out for a 5 mile run. The first mile was under 10 minutes. I told myself I needed to slow down. The second mile was under 10 minutes, and I told myself the same thing. I didn't slow down though. Mile 5 was awful, but I had come so far I wasn't giving up! I finished in 48 minutes, 51 seconds. Whoa. Before that morning the longest I had gone at a sub-10 pace was 2 miles. At that point I knew that unless something happened I could probably expect a finish in under 30 minutes.

The day before the race I had a minor wardrobe emergency. It's a St Patrick's Day race, so obviously I needed to wear green. It was cool enough I couldn't wear shorts, and the only capris I had with pockets were purple. I showed Rick my outfit choices. He made fun of me for thinking I could wear it. Then I felt bad because I was going to look stupid. Rick kindly said "what time does Lululemon close?" I was able to get a great pair of capris for the race that I felt good in and were comfy.

Race morning was early! We left Eureka at 5:30. I was nervous, but not terrified. It was chilly and had decent chance of rain, so that was unpleasant. Cristy is a lot faster than me, so my goal was to keep her in my sights as long as I can. There were so many people though I lost track of her almost instantly. Mile 1 felt great, and I had to slow myself down a little bit. Mile 2 started out great, but I was running too fast. I was afraid I'd blow up. I kept trying to slow myself down. Not long before the end of mile 2 I finally caught site of Cristy and was close enough I wanted to try to catch her. I didn't think I could, but it would give me a goal. At the beginning of mile 3 there was a hill, and I was getting closer to her thinking that something wasn't right because I shouldn't be able to catch her. I caught her and tapped her on the shoulder and asked if she was ok. She said yes and we started running together. After a while she started to walk and waved me on. I was so conflicted. It was almost painful to leave her, but I knew she wouldn't want me to give up on my goal. It turned out she was having some stomach issues. With about a quarter of a mile to go I was tired and breathing really hard, but decided to just go for it. I gave it all I had and finished in 28:14! I blew my goal out of the water. I still don't know how it happened. I don't know what I've done to cause me to speed up, but I need to do more of it!

Joy was walking the race with a friend because she's battling an injury right now, so we waited for her.  I'm so grouchy and sad when I can't run that I'm not sure I would have the courage to walk it injured, so I'm impressed Joy came! Plus she's super nice and fun, so I'm really glad she was there! Cristy's daughter Danielle ran as well and finished in a super fast time I can't remember. She's a speed demon! We went and changed clothes, picked up Joy's daughter, did a bit of shopping, and finished our day with a giant meal at Jose Pepper's. I think there's something to be said for these short races that are done in the morning.

I'm running a half marathon next weekend in El Dorado that I'm excited and nervous about. I have a time goal in mind, but it's going to take a unicorn day to make it happen. We'll see!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Back in the saddle!

Wow, it's been a while! I've been running, but I took a break from ultras, and from the stress of running, and just did what I wanted for a long time. It was amazing!

Last spring after running Heartland 50, I had reached total burnout. I didn't love running anymore. I wasn't in a very good place mentally. I decided it was time to stop doing races, and just do what I want. I spent the summer doing short runs, like 3 or 4 miles, and did it several days a week, but never pressured myself. I also started lifting and going to spin classes. Where has lifting been all of my life?! I have been focusing on losing weight, and just getting stronger and better.

Here is a picture of me at Pumpkin Holler 100, and a picture of me last week. Same shirt. I've only lost around 10 pounds, but I can see a huge difference!

At the end of 2015 I decided I was ready to tackle ultras again. I've been training for a 50K, but to be honest, I'm not sure if I'll do it. Right now I'm still really enjoying running for myself, and not for a race. I want to do a 100 in the fall, so my thought was I'll train for a 50K to help get me ready for 100 mile training. Well, I've accomplished that main goal of getting ready for 100 training. I'm pretty much there. Not ready to run a 100 of course, but ready to train for one. So, maybe I'll sign up for the 50K and run it, and maybe not. We'll see.

It has been challenging to ramp up my miles and maintain my lifting. I think as I increase the miles more I'll have to decrease the lifting to two days per week instead of three. Life with my boys is kind of hectic, so most of the time I'm moving stuff around as the week gets busier, and just hanging on for dear life. I'm thrilled at the end of the week when I've hit a mileage goal! It doesn't always look like I expected it to, but I'm getting it done.

Right at this moment, I'm in a great place with my physical fitness. I'm managing to balance it with my family obligations, and with my desires, rather than running because I feel like I need to or it's what I should be doing. Not to say I don't have to force myself sometimes, because I do, but overall I'm enjoying myself a lot.


  • Body recomposition. Lose fat, gain muscle
  • Start a 100 mile training plan
  • Keep lifting. Don't give it up as I increase my miles.
  • Eat healthy to fuel my body and my workouts, and not work out to undo the damage                   of what I ate.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Knowing when it's time to back off

Over the course of the last few months I've really questioned what I'm doing and how much I want to keep doing it. Long runs seem to be getting longer. Every run has been a struggle. I have no joy. I spend pretty much every run thinking "how can I possibly run longer than this in June?" Every time I thought about running 100 miles I seriously wanted to cry. Every once in a while I'd get excited about it, but for the most part I had an overwhelming sense of dread. During Heartland 50 I kept asking myself why I was doing this. Why do I keep pushing myself? I talked to the ladies I was running with about it and they told me if I'm not enjoying it don't do it. Take a break. After the race I mentioned how I was feeling to someone and she said the same thing. If I need a break, take it. After the race I talked to Rick and told him how I felt. I was worried because I had already paid a lot of money to register for the 100 and if I didn't do it that money is just lost. He assured me that he doesn't care. He didn't think I should run if I didn't want to.

I've been going back and forth with myself since the 50. I finally convinced myself that it's really just a couple of hard weeks of training, then a taper, then the race. I can suck it up. I can take a break later. I powered on. I got a little bit excited again. Then Friday rolled around and I looked at my weekend miles and couldn't stand to even think about it. Saturday morning I got up crazy early and Rick and I headed to Iola. We did a 7 mile out and back and then Libby joined us. While we were running I started talking to Libby about how I felt. We kept talking. I went through everything I was feeling. All the reasons I should run the race and all the reasons I shouldn't. I really analyzed my feelings and the reasons for doing it and not doing it. In the end, there are so many more reasons to drop out than there are to go for it. By the end of the run my decision was made. I wasn't doing it. The relief I felt was tremendous.

I've really struggled with feeling like I would let myself down and let others down. I didn't want people to be disappointed in me. I don't want people to think I can't handle it. The truth is, right now I can't. Well, maybe I can. I just don't want to. I feel like that's a good enough reason. I cannot run 100 miles to please other people. That's absurd. It's too hard on me and my body and on my family. If people are disappointed in me that is their problem, not mine. If people think less of me, that's their problem. Am I failing? Maybe. I had a goal and I'm not going to accomplish it. I'm doing it on my own terms though. I'm saying enough is enough. I need to step back a little. I need to shift my focus and find my joy again. Right now my joy is not in running for hours and hours at a time.

I'm obviously not going to take a break from running completely. I'm just going to work on shorter distances right now. I'm currently considering a half marathon in October. Sounds about right to me at the moment. I can work on speed and strength and push myself and see what I can do. I want to take some fun classes at my gym and I want to get stronger. I need to step back from the huge mileage weeks to make that happen. After I analyzed my decision to death I have to say I'm so excited. I'm excited to work on other things besides running long. I'm excited to see what I can do. Mostly I'm excited to spend the summer with my family and not running.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Heartland 50 Report

Once upon a time, I thought running 50 miles in the Flinthills in May would be a good idea. In the back of my head I knew it was stupid, but when have I ever made smart choices when it comes to running? I registered and decided that running in the heat with absolutely no shade wouldn't really be that bad. I mean, I live here. I know the area, I know what it's like to run here. I would have an advantage! Hahahaha. Not so much.

Leading up to this race I had an overwhelming sense of dread. I just didn't want to do it. Nothing could get me excited. I did not want to run. At all. I honestly wanted nothing to do with this race. Great attitude going in, right? I think the day before I started getting a little excited, because races are fun. Also, Rachel was coming from Washington to run, and I was excited about that.

Saturday morning I got up, got ready and Rachel and I headed to the race along with Deanna who was going to be crewing. We got there way earlier than we needed to be so I had plenty of time to be nervous and freak out! I picked up my packet and finished getting everything ready. The race started in a different place than packet pickup, so we all headed to the start line. We had a quick pre-race briefing and we were off. I was planning to run the race with Megan and Kathy, who was running her first 50 mile. I knew Megan, but had never met Kathy. Running 50 miles together seems like a good way to get to know each other, right? The first snafu I encountered was that my gatorade wasn't thawing. When it's hot I stick a gatorade in my front pocket frozen. Ad it thaws I drink it, so it's always cold. Great plan, right? Except it was cooler in the morning than I was expecting and it didn't thaw. The result is that I didn't get to drink enough gatorade. I also didn't eat like I should have. Such a beginner mistake! Why do I keep making it? I know better. I know some people don't seem to need a lot of calories when they run. I am not one of those people. I know my body. I know what I need. When will I learn?

The first several miles ticked by. I was having a blast. We hit the first aid station, which was staffed by the always friendly Elden, Debbie, and Jim. I don't remember what I got here, but I think just some pringles? I should have grabbed another gatorade because my first should have been empty, but I had barely touched it. I left the aid station with Rachel, a little ahead of Megan and Kathy. We walked slow while she waited for Krystal and I waited for the other. Soon Rachel and Krystal took off and I waited for Megan and Kathy. This section is the worst. From Battle Creek to Lapland is really hilly. It sucked away some of the fun we had been having, but not all of it! Again in this section I failed to fuel properly. I did finish my gatorade, but should have finished two by the time I hit Lapland. Also, the sun reared it's ugly head right before Lapland. I switched from my buff to a hat to shield my face. Deanna was waiting at Lapland and got me fixed up. I'm not sure who all was at this aid station, so forgive me for leaving people out. Terry and Sherri rider were there, and I'm not sure who else. Sherri and I talked a minute and we all took off. Kathy realized she had meant to change her socks at that station, so she went back and Megan and I strolled along waiting for her.

This next section was fairly uneventful. The sun went back away and it sprinkled on us a little. We got to see the front runners in this section headed back to the finish. That was so cool! It's amazing to see these strong speedy runners out there killing it. Coming into Teterville the wind had picked up and I knew it would be in our face a lot of the rest of the race. This is where the wheels really started coming off for me. I was cranky, getting tired, and way behind on calories and electrolytes. Deanna was ready for me and had everything I needed. I'm so glad she was there! Jason was at this aid station and it's always nice to see him and get bossed around a little. April Calaway was volunteering too and she always has a smile on her face. Her daughter was there riding her bike up and down the road and is such a little doll! We got what we needed at the aid station and headed out. I texted Rick to update him, and also my mom, who I had asked to come see me finish. I think I texted Libby here too.

The next few miles were again pretty uneventful. I was still doing ok, but starting to feel pretty nauseous. At mile 28ish (maybe?) I thought I was going to puke so I sent Megan and Kathy ahead. I just did some dry heaving, and started going again. I no longer had gatorade because the taste wasn't something I was interested in. Again, poor choice! It started getting really hot through here. Like, running through the bowels of hell hot. Ok, I'm exaggerating. It was hot though. At the bottom of the hill leading into Lapland we saw Kathy's dad waiting for us. He had a flower for each of us. So sweet! We all started crying. Then Kathy's husband came down the road to meet her. It was so sweet. She was so happy and it was so neat to see her whole family there cheering for her. We made it to the aid station and I did a lot of complaining about the heat. Deanna was awesome again getting everything I needed. Jason sprayed me down with sunblock and I sat on a bucket eating for a little while waiting for Kathy to fix up her blisters. This time leaving this aid station we knew what was ahead. We knew the hills between here and Battle Creek sucked. We knew we could do it though. We had plenty of time.

This section did indeed suck. There's no other way to describe it. It was awful. I was tired, like falling asleep tired. I couldn't eat because my stomach was a mess. I couldn't run much because my stomach was a mess. It would calm down for a few minutes, then start rolling again. I just powered on. I am so very thankful for the ladies that were with me that stayed with me and kept me moving. I could not have done it without them! I ate when I could, and tried to drink as much as possible. We made it to Battle Creek and I needed to use the bathroom desperately. Yay portapotties! I did what I needed to do, then parked my butt in a lawn chair and ate a popsicle. It was sooooo good! Debbie got me some cold wet cloths and I used them to cool off a little. It was hard to leave this aid station because there's a giant hill climbing out of it. Once you're past that though, it's smooth sailing. It's not hilly and you should be able to speed up a little. HAHAHA. That didn't happen. I started really really struggling. Some of it was mental because I didn't know how far I had to go. I knew the race was more than 50 miles, but I didn't know how much more. I got overly anxious about how much further I had to go. The other ladies were feeling much better and wanting to run, so with maybe 4 miles left they pulled ahead. I wanted so badly to keep up but I couldn't, so I let them go. I called Libby through this section and cried and vented. She was kind, but firm in telling me to keep moving. I could do it. I finally caught back up, but then got really sick and slowed way down and puked massively. A few minutes later Jason and Carina came along breaking down the aid stations and picking up course markers. I cried and asked Jason for a ride. It was a no go. He said I had to finish. I think I had 2.5 miles to go. That seeems like so little, but at the time it did not. After that I caught back up with everyone and we stayed together.

The last 2 miles were incredibly hard. I was dizzy and nauseous and though I might pass out. I kept going though, mostly because I didn't have a choice. When we finally got back to Cassoday I was soooo happy! Megan said we were running to the finish line. I think I told her no I was not, and she assured me that yes, I was. I did. We crossed together holding hands. My family was all there, so that was really cool. I got some cold water, some food, and sat and talked to my friends. I didn't get that elated "omg, I just ran a really tough race and finished!" feeling that I normally get. All I had was regret for the mistakes I made, and dread about my next race. I'm sort of passed that now, but not completely. I'm not happy with how I did. I'm dreading my next race. Hopefully knowing the mistakes I made this time will help me next time. I woke up Sunday with a sore throat, and by afternoon I was covered in a rash. I'm a freak, and I get a rash when I have strep. Aha! That explains a little bit of my struggle. I went to the doctor monday and sure enough, strep. Yay antibiotics! I thought I was dying for two days, but woke up yesterday feeling great.

I have my next 100 in a month, and to say I'm looking forward to it would be a lie. Hopefully I can shake it off and be back to my normal run loving self soon.

Thanks so much to my family that came to watch me finish, to Megan and Kathy who ran over 51 miles with me, and Deanna for crewing. Also, Barry and Jason for putting on such a great race, as well as all the volunteers that were awesome. To Amber Lane, so glad I got to meet you! Thanks for your help and support!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


I think every once in a while it's good for people to really step back and think about why they're doing something. I've been doing that a lot lately with running. Well, not running so much. I know why I run. It's more that I've been evaluating the way I talk about running, the different ways in which I log my runs on social media, and how much of what I'm doing is more about bragging and seeking attention than actually about running.

I have several areas where I log runs. My garmin automatically uploads to garmin connect, which logs everything I do. I have my settings set so that only my "connections" can see my activities. I also use dailymile, which is sort of like facebook for running. I post my run on there, and people can comment. You can post your time, so that everyone knows your pace, or you don't have to. I also upload to Strava, and only have a few followers on there. Then there's Facebook, where I post random photos, or elevation profiles, or I just brag about my miles.

Lately I've gotten more and more uncomfortable with posting about running, and posting each and every run for my dailymile friends to see. I started by just no longer posting my times. I would be running and struggling, and keep pushing myself beyond what I should be doing just because I didn't want my friends that are all faster than me to see my pace. I realized this is ridiculous, so my answer was to just stop telling what my time is. Then I don't have to worry about it. Doing that felt so freeing. I no longer needed to care what anyone thought of my pace. I stopped logging every run. I still post most of them, but not all. I've decided that some runs are just for me. I just go out there, do my thing, and come home. No one needs the details of that run. I know, and I'm the only one that matters. I also lock down my garmin connect randomly. I'll go through a phase where I just don't want to share my running, not even with my closest friends. I mark my activities as private, and it feels so good. I always bounce out of that and eventually open it back up. I think it's good to just step back from that stuff every once in a while.

Something else that I've put a lot of thought into lately is the stickers on my car. I have one that says "ultra marathoner" and then one for each distance above a marathon that I've completed. A few weeks go I looked at my car and wondered why? What is my motivation for doing that? I discussed it with Ryan who came down firmly on the side of removing the stickers. I told him I felt like I had only put them on there to brag. That is the reason. I know myself well enough to say that is 100% why I did it. I don't remember exactly what he said, but he agreed with me that if bragging was the sole reason, that's not good enough. The next person I talked to about it with was my mom. I've actually been talking with her a lot about my motivation for this stuff. She told me keep the stickers. She said they motivate people and they're also good conversation starters with new runners. She said some other stuff that made sense. Ultimately what I decided is that they make me happy, and when I go to get in my car I see them and smile, so I'm keeping them. Plus it helps find it in a parking lot! After decided to keep the stickers, I realized over the weekend the ones on the back are starting to peel off. It is the ultramarathoner one and the 50k one. I took that as a sign and last night I removed them. I still have my 50 mile, 101k, and 100 mile. As they start to peel, I will remove them. Will I replace them? I don't know. I'll overthink the situation and decide when it happens :)

In the end, I've decided that I really just need to run for me. The more I brag on Facebook, dailymile, garmin connect, etc, about my runs, the less I feel like I'm running for myself. I think everyone has different reasons for posting runs or not posting. For some it motivates them to keep going. They also do it to motivate other people. I think it doesn't really matter what someone's reasons are, as long as they're their reasons and not just because it's what everyone does. Please don't think I'm going to stop annoying people by talking about running. I'm totally going to keep doing it. I'm just going to be more thoughtful of why I'm doing it. Sometimes it's just going to be bragging. I'm ok with that. If (when?) I finish Heartland 50 this weekend I'm guessing I'll be pretty excited and you guys will see more pictures and posts than you care about. If I DNF, you'll know because their will be total silence from me ;) Ok, not really. I tend to be pretty honest about my running, even when it sucks. This is going to suck, because my training has been awful. I'm going to give it everything I have though!

I would like to make it perfectly clear that I'm not judging what anyone else does regarding social media and running. To each their own. My feelings have nothing to do with anyone else.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lake McMurtry 50K

This is the race I wasn't supposed to run. The plan was to go and crew Libby at her first 50k. Then wrestling season happened. Also, a long, cold, nasty winter and my typical laziness and lots of illness in my house over the winter. Those things created the perfect storm of a crappy training cycle. I hadn't been running enough miles, and suddenly Heartland 50 is just a few weeks away. How did that happen? Anyway, I didn't want to lose an opportunity for a weekend of back to back long runs. I also needed to force myself to run, and if I've paid for it, I'm doing it. I sent Libby a message and told her that I'm happy to crew, but if she wanted me to I'd run the whole thing with her. She knows me and saw through that right away, and asked if I needed the miles. Yep! She very kindly agreed to let me run instead of crew. Woot!

My plan was originally to go down the night before with the boys and camp. Then Rick decided he'd like to go. Prom was Friday night, which meant going down then was a no go. Instead, we got up and were out of the house by 4:15 am. The boys were probably not my biggest fans in that moment. They're sort of used to my craziness at this point though and just went with it. We hit the road and within an hour I had to go to the bathroom. Rick kindly pulled into a gas station and I went. Maybe 10 minutes later I had to go again. He wasn't quite as kind the second time.

We got to the race, found Libby and her husband Justin, and picked up my packet. I started getting ready and Rick and the boys tried to sleep. I had been really nervous leading up to the race, because this was Libby's race and I didn't want to do anything to mess it up for her. I was also severely undertrained and was afraid I couldn't finish, or that it would be really ugly. Thankfully I was worried for nothing! We started the race and pretty quickly everyone took off and Libby and I found ourselves at the back of the pack. I was actually shocked at how fast that happens. I mean, I'm never really speedy, but I'm not usually last place within half a mile. I think if I hadn't been with Libby this would have put me in a pretty nasty place mentally. I was determined to just enjoy the day though.

Since the first time I heard about this race several years ago I've been hearing about the Leap O' Doom. It always seemed like a big joke, but was it really? I mean, you definitely had to leap over a crevice, but how deep was it? How wide? Would I make it? I don't want to die on the trail! We got there and all of my questions were answered. The only one I'll answer on my blog is that yes, I did make it. My remains will not forever be a part of Lake McMurtry. If you want more details on this 72nd Wonder of the World, you'll have to run the race yourself. It's worth it! Trust me.

The race is two out and backs, which you double. Well, sort of. There are some loops within the out and backs, but every 7.5-8ish miles you came back to the start/finish. I could never decide if I liked not knowing where we were and how far it was to the next aid station, or if that was a bad thing. I think it was kind of fun to just be running along and an aid station would sort of pop up when I didn't expect it. I knew very little about this race or what the course was like going in. I'm still not sure I know that much about it! I just mostly played follow the leader all day. This was Libby's day, so when she ran, I ran. When she walked, I walked. Sometimes I stayed at an aid station chatting a little longer than she would, so I'd have to run really fast to catch up. Every aid station was great, which is typical at TATUR races, but the Flushy station was the best! What is a Flushy you ask? Who knows? I had one, but I still couldn't tell you. Something slushy with some alcohol. The first time through I had a flushy and some home brew that Jason Bement concocted. It was actually pretty good! I chased that with a pickle and some pringles and m&m's. How did I not throw up you ask? So many mysteries surrounding this race. It was at this station on the way back, which was maybe mile 13, that we heard it was getting ready to rain. Probably about 5 minutes later it did in fact start raining. I assumed it would just be a quick shower, but it pretty much rained the rest of the day. It never rained very hard, and the rain actually kept us cool. The ground got a tiny bit sticky, but mostly by clumping and since I was running behind Libby, the clumps hit my legs and slid down into my shoes. I had so much gritty dirt down inside my shoes that eventually I just had to pretend I didn't really have feet anymore. If I thought about them it was incredibly unpleasant, so I didn't.

The whole day was filled with laughter and just lots of chatting and fun. I couldn't have asked for a better day. Libby had a perfect first 50k. She was strong and happy throughout. She never death marched. I was so proud of her! Her hard work definitely paid off. I think this might be the most fun I've ever had in a race. It turns out I'm in good enough shape to run a 50k! I had a nice relaxed day and wasn't sore at the end. Win! I had some stiffness when I woke up Sunday, but I ran 10 miles and felt good today. I really needed this weekend to remind myself that I can still do the long distances, but training is necessary.

I could tell stories for hours, but I'll just leave it all on the trail. I will tell everyone that if you ever get a chance to do this race, do it! It is fun, beautiful, and very well organized. Ken and Dana do an incredible job with every race they put on. I'm very happy that Ken is going to be running the Urban Adventure 100. Hopefully I can put in some miles with him.

Heartland is less than three weeks away my friends! This will be my second 50 miler. I had high hopes and goals several months ago, but now I'm just looking for a finish. I'm sure I'll share all the details here, whether you all want to hear them or not.

PS, I almost forgot to thank my crew! It was a handsome lot of boys that helped me out. Rick, Ryan and Adam were great. They didn't need to do much, but they were always fun to see. I think Adam spent most of his day trying to eat the food in my drop bag. I love having them come to races with me. Who knows? Maybe it will inspire them to do ultras one day.