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.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Volunteering at races

Are you a runner? Do you run races? Have you ever volunteered for a race? If you answered yes to either or both of the first questions, and no to the third, get your butt to a race and volunteer! There are so many reasons to do it. It's tons of fun, it's rewarding, and it's a good way to give back to people that have volunteered for races you're in. Races take a lot of volunteers. If you've been taking advantage of all of those hours of volunteer work and haven't done it yourself, it's time.

This weekend I volunteered at Post Oak. The station I worked at had 5 people in the morning, and one more joined us after she finished her race. We were at the aid station around 8:30, and I think I left around 5 and was the first to leave. So at that aid station alone 6 people gave up a day of their lives to help runners. Did we have loads of fun while we did it? Of course. Still, we were part of a large group of people that made it possible for the runners to run that day. Lots of runners thanked us for being out there. I really felt like we should thank them because they made it possible for us to have so much fun. I get how they feel though. When I'm running a race, especially a really long one, I am so thankful for the volunteers that are out there as they're the reason I'm able to do it.

At ultras, most aid stations are staffed with other ultrarunners. If you're having some kind of issue there's a good chance someone there has had the same issue and they can help you. That can be invaluable. I was nauseous and cramping at a race once and the electrolyte tablets the aid station had were ones that make me sick. One of the volunteers went to his own car and got out his personal stash and gave me some. That was way above and beyond the call of duty. In a 100 mile race, volunteers will likely be there well over 24 hours, will prepare food in their own kitchens ahead of time, and will basically sacrifice an entire weekend to help you run. There's a chance that doing that meant that had to scratch another race off of their calendar because their time spent on running is limited and they just can't do it all. They might have sacrificed training miles for their own race. I've done both of those things. It's worth it though. Seeing runners persevere through pain, fatigue, cramps, vomiting, etc makes it all worth it. It's inspiring. You also learn so much. By volunteering at a couple of different 100 mile races, I learned a lot before my own. Even talking to crews can be very helpful. If they have crewed at a lot of races they know the issues that plague runners and they know how to fix them. Even if they have never ran a step in their life, a lot of crew members can tell you how to fix any problem that comes your way.

If you have time to run and time to do races, and time to do all of the other things in life you want to do, you also have time to volunteer. You have to make it. It's the right thing to do. Don't keep taking advantage of volunteers without doing some of it yourself. This is also not a one and done type of thing. Keep volunteering. I'm not saying you have to give up a weekend every month. Get out there one or two times a year though. Even if you go for a few hours, it'll help. The runners will appreciate you, the race directors will appreciate you and you'll have fun. You can't lose!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

You're so lucky

Do you know how sick I am of hearing that phrase? Especially when it concerns running. It seems there are an awful lot of people that for various reasons think running is easy to me, because something about my situation is different than theirs. I am just done with it. First, stop comparing your life to mine, because unless you're living it you have no clue. Second, stop making assumptions based on what you think you see.

Let me list for you the reasons I'm lucky, so running comes so easy to me.

1. I have older kids.
Yep. I do. My kids aren't little anymore. They can be left alone while I run. That is awesome. However, I never get through a run without a phone call, facetime, text, etc. I have to stop in the middle and answer them. Sunday I had to cut my run short because one was sick. I have to schedule my runs around school activities, sports, music, whatever. While having older kids is easier in some ways, it's harder in others. Really, I have a 14 year old and an 11 year old and so far I haven't ever though "omg! This age is sooo easy!" Also, I paid my dues thank you very much. I had little kids once. I didn't get to do things I wanted to do and I had to stay home with them and miss out on stuff. What you're doing right now with your little kids? I did that. You might not have known me then, but that doesn't mean I didn't go through that.

2. I don't work full time
This one is also true. I don't. I only work 30 hours per week. I will admit that this is a huge advantage for me. I do still work though. I can't just take off any time I want and go to all the races I want, and I can't just go run whenever I want. This one is a pretty big advantage for me and I will say that I am lucky. It might not be quite the only reason I'm able to run so many miles though as people seem to think.

3. You live in Kansas
Who ever thought this would be an advantage in life? If you ask several people I know though it sure is. I mean, I don't know if you're aware, but Kansas is completely flat. It's just wheat fields as far as the eye can see. You can run for miles and miles without ever encountering a hill. It's lovely. Wait, what? People actually think that? It would appear they do! It is true that I don't run mountains. Thank goodness. I do see the occasional incline though. Sometimes I even (gasp!) run hill repeats. The hills where I live tend to not be very steep. They're long and rolling and constant. I do have a couple of easy routes I can run that are virtually flat. I'll go ahead and admit that I do that quite often because I'm lazy. Most of my runs though are pretty hilly. I also assume that if you live in an area with steep hills or mountains or whatever, that's what you learned to run on, so that's your normal. Would I struggle there? Probably. I have a feeling though that if the types of hills I run aren't what you're used to then you might struggle a little bit here as well. This is my normal. It's still hard, but it's what I'm used to.

I've also been told recently that I'm lucky I live in Kansas because of the weather. You are clearly not from this state if you think our weather is any kind of advantage. I run despite the weather. Obviously I don't deal with blizzard after blizzard like the east coast has this year. I also don't have rain every single day like the west coast. I'm not in the desert. However, because I live in Kansas, sometimes I deal with all of that in one week. Hell, sometimes I deal with it all in the same day!

Those are all things that I've not heard just once. Multiple people tell me on a regular basis how lucky I am and how easy running must be. The point I'm trying to make here is...stop. Stop doing that. It minimizes how hard I work and how much I've accomplished. I am tremendously lucky to have a supportive husband, a job that makes scheduling easier, and kids that can mostly take care of themselves while I run. Running is still really hard though, even if you have all the time in the world. When you run 50-70 miles per week, as I do toward the end of a training plan for a long race, you're going to have scheduling conflicts. Sometimes it might be your husband or one of your kids looking at you and saying "when are you going to stop running and spend time with me?" It's pretty hard to say no to that.

The moral of my little story is to just be happy with yourself and what you're accomplishing and stop worrying about what other people are doing. If you aren't running as much as them, don't assume it's because running is easier for them. Be proud of what you're doing without having to make someone else feel bad.

I would like to add that this is NOT directed toward anyone in particular, it's just something that has been bugging me based on many little comments made by many people.

Oh, and P.S......I'm training for another 100!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 in Review

It's hard to know where to start in summing up 2014. It was a really big year for me. There were some very good things that happened and some not so good things. I'm working on moving past the not so good things and am looking forward to more of the good this coming year.

2014 started out pretty miserable for me. I was living in a town where I didn't know anyone and mostly spent the winter at home depressed. I rarely saw my husband as he was working a lot of hours and I wasn't very good at telling him what I needed from him when he was home. Instead I was hateful and angry all the time. The only good thing I had going on was running. I don't know if it was late 2013 or early 2014 that I decided to run FR101K, but I know I started training for it at the beginning of the year. At the time, that was the biggest thing I had planned to accomplish for the year. I planned to run that race, then just maintain that level of training and run my first 100 miler in 2015. Somewhere along the way that changed. My training for FR went really well. I felt really strong going in. Some things happened not long before the race that really shook my confidence, but I powered on. I went into that race knowing that people were betting against me. Literally. It's pretty upsetting to know that there are people out there hoping you'll fail. I didn't though. It just convinced me to push harder and do better. I finished the race and couldn't be more proud of how well I did. I obviously wish I wouldn't have had so many stomach issues, but I finished, so it doesn't really matter.

Shortly after FR I started thinking about what I wanted to do next. I knew I wanted to run 100 miles. For various reasons, the 100 I planned to run in 2015 was no longer an option. I also knew that I could do it sooner than I had originally thought I could. After searching and discussing it with Rick, I settled on Pumpkin Holler and that became my focus. About that time, things had pretty much reached a crisis point with my emotional health. I finally broke down one day and told Rick how unhappy I was. For the record, my unhappiness wasn't his fault. He just needed to know. We committed to spend more time together and work harder on our marriage. We've never before had to work so hard to schedule time together. We didn't know when he took his new job how hard it was going to be. I won't pretend it's easy now, but now we make spending time together a priority and have figured out that sometimes just spending 15 minutes alone together can mean a lot. I also finally started meeting people here and making friends and that helped tremendously. Let me tell you, Eureka Kansas is not an easy town to move to!

Right about the time Rick and I realized we need to spend more time together, my training ramped up. I needed to spend a lot more time running if I was going to be able to run 100 miles. Thankfully Rick started running too, so we spent quite a bit of time together this summer exercising. We were able to kill two birds with one stone. I won't lie and say it wasn't a little selfish of me to spend so much time running. It was. My family had to sacrifice a lot. It was pretty selfish of me to tell my husband that I'm upset because I never see him anymore, and then say "oh, hey, I'm going to be running half the day every Saturday and Sunday." He's a pretty amazing guy though and handled it well. I'm pretty lucky to have him!

I survived the training and my family survived it. My marriage survived. I ran 100 miles and rocked it. After that I started focusing on strength and haven't been running quite as much. I want to continue with strength training in 2015 as it seems to be helping my running, plus it's just pretty fun.

I don't really have any goals for 2015 except to keep lifting. I want to run another 100 miler. In fact, I have one picked out. I just have to convince Rick to let me do it! It will involve travel, a lot of money, time, time off work, and did I mention money? These races are expensive! If I can't convince him to let me do the one I want, I'll try to find one a little closer to home.

Total miles for 2014: 1764.24 (up from 1054 last year!)

I had such a huge year. Two new distance PR's and my mileage increased by a huge amount. I'll likely never have another year like this one. Maybe now I'll get faster? Ha! Well, I did have a half marathon PR and a 50K PR, so who knows?

My year in numbers:

Time Period
Avg Speed
Jan 201418137.1332:14:374.213,197
Feb 201418119.0224:23:574.94,151
Mar 201418105.0023:11:104.59,721
Apr 201417200.0641:27:393.58,313
May 20141365.1512:36:164.86,414
Jun 20142094.9415:05:244.67,304
Jul 201434198.8441:41:084.418,280
Aug 201431236.3048:44:014.219,124
Sep 201423190.5135:01:324.013,230
Oct 201414170.6040:52:373.79,149
Nov 201424118.4917:09:185.08,608
Dec 201430128.2025:45:544.512,568