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.