As I approach the dog days of summer so does my 50K training. I set out on this venture not knowing about the ‘what ifs” and stepping out on faith. This is not the first time that I have trained in this capacity for I trained and completed the Chicago Marathon in 2013 but many things have changed in the last three years. First and foremost the mindset is different and I was in a different “state of being” still hyped on the fact that I was truly a runner. Signing up for every race under the moon, just could not get enough of running, so I thought.
Fast forward, with many half marathons and bling under my belt, I slipped into a running funk as many of you may know (and may have personally experienced), and it was not an easy thing to shake off. Sometimes we have to go down in order to know how to get back up. Weight gain took ahold of my body, Jedi mind tricks jumped on the bandwagon, and I just did not want to lace-up anymore, but I did. I lost my base and it was so hard to build it back up, even though I was still running, it was just a mere 2 miles here and 3 miles there. I had started to doubt myself as to if I could run “anything” again. Then pride stepped in and I just continued to beat myself up BUT I was still chugging along (I think I can, I think I can).
I decided I need a different goal, something for ME, hence I embarked on the 50K Ultra Marathon Quest. I decided to go BIG or just sit my happy ass down; needless to say I opted for BIG. I read, read, and read some more from magazines to books and listened to podcasts, asked some friends and joined a few FB ultra groups. I really became a new sort of RunJunkEe, like I reinvented myself. My outlook on running changed and I started acting and believing my own advice to “run my race at my pace”. Therefore, I decided to do Jeff Galloway walk/run for my training due to my weight.
Fast forward again to the present, I am now 4 months out from my 50K, and the excitement level is rising just a tad. My Sole Sister and fellow RunJunkEe Kim Jarrett will be running the race with me for when we met last summer I told her about my plan and she just chimed in and said she would do it with me without any hesitation. I promised myself that I would be ready and train to my fullest but being smart as well. I have that personal trainer and he has helped me to get stronger so I can build endurance and I will need it. He pledged to me that he would get me there if I was willing to commit to the plan, and to this date I have not missed a session. I AM COMMITTED!!
Now, I am not perfect by no means for I still struggle with my diet it seems like this is the last hurdle. Well, I am getting ready to consult with a nutritionist and currently have adopted a sort of vegetarian/plant based diet by just eating fish and no meat, yup not even chicken. I have been meat free for a month and quite pleased with myself. I’m not out of the woods but I can see the clearing in the path. I believe I have mentioned before that I am Type 2 Diabetic so that puts a spin on just about everything that I do including my running.
While I have been on this journey, I would apologize to people informing them that I am a “slow” runner and I do a run/walk when they ask/offer to run with me. Being “slow” is only relative to the one claiming it for someone’s 9-minute mile can be lightning speed to some and drag ass slow to others. I am no longer going to be a “labeled” runner, I AM A RUNNER, plain and simple. I cross that finish line like everybody else, get the same medal, and put in the same miles to get there. As long as I make the required cut off time, upright, and injury free, it’s a damn good day. So if you run with me (or want to) I run/walk if not, everybody knows that the Solo Ninja will come out and play by herself.
So, for those of you who claim that you’ll never run a marathon, half marathon, or just too slow, etc., etc., “As a man/woman thinketh so is he/she”, uhh I ain’t in that club. Get Up, Try It, Train for It, and DO THE DAMN THING. I Am, What Say You!! Peace Out!!
Since I have been back on the running path and my mojo has returned (it was MIA for a minute) running has resumed the priority position in my life putting it back into the rotation of my daily schedule. Most runners that have a race to train for, they get a plan and basically run. Now some of us have to “pre-pare” for the prepare or what I call pre-training, which is what I am doing. When I lost my mojo, the funk rolled in and I lost my base therefore, I am in the process of building that back.
I have been consistently running since December 1 about three days a week. I have now moved up to four days a week as well as strength training two days a week. It amazes me what the body will adapt to when the mind comes along for the ride, for it has to be in unison so the body will not quit. As stated in my previous month’s blog, I am training for my long-term goal, my first 50K, which will take place 10/29. In the meantime, I needed some races to put on the calendar in order to get back into the race scene, so I have a half marathon 4/2. After the half marathon I plan to move out of the “pre-training” phase and move into the actual training phase for my 50K.
It is a must that one has to prepare “mentally” as well as physically for ANY type of significant distance that is out of one’s comfort zone. The mind will pull you out of the simplest race let alone something that you are not sure of. Training is no different for the runs will not always be “ideal”. Those of you who see my running posts know that I run all year round, cold, snow, heat, rain (just no major blizzard or thunderstorms) but that comes with the territory/location (Chicagoland), and the races can be in any of those situations again, the body will adapt provided you train it. When you train in those conditions the mind knows and it’s not a shock and the body knows what to do, and of course proper gear!
So, this pre-preparing stage does not come without it’s ups and downs but I manage my schedule the best to my ability and sometimes life takes over but not to the point that I cannot do anything. This is where organization comes in at least for me, fail to plan/plan to fail. I am a planner for what I can plan and if something happens off schedule, and then I adjust accordingly. It is very important that I get my miles in and time on my feet. As runners know you MUST respect the distance if not, shame on you and you’ll pay! It’s no fun getting up at 4:45am, dark, ass-kicking cold, and go run, but I need to get the miles in. Getting up and out when the heavens decide to open up and rain comes out like someone turned the faucet on full blast, but I need to get the miles in.
As I stated earlier, mental training is a must. When the body gets tired, feet begin to hurt; the Jedi Mind Tricks will kick in real fast. One needs to have a “mental” plan whether it is a mantra, song, pulling up good memories, listening to music, or a run buddy for company. I personally do not listen to music for I find it a distraction and it something goes “OOPS” then that can derail the run, so I do not run with it any more. I’ve learned to look at my surroundings, enjoy the outside beauty of my run, even when I feel I cannot go another step, I still find the “beauty” of the run.
So, just wanted to give a few updates of my current journey of “The Road to Ultra”, on the things that I have encountered thus far. There will be more updates of my ups, downs, moans and groans, and everything in between but that is what running is about, at least for me. Running is part of my DNA; it’s what I love to do regardless of how I may fall-out with it I still come back to it! TTFN!! #RJSponsoredAthlete #PathRunner #UltraTraining
It feels sooo good to have my mojo back and strong! Since my last post I have enlisted a personal trainer on 12/1 and I really enjoy working with him. It’s amazing what the body can do if you train it and feed it right (nutrition still a work in progress). I’m getting stronger for I didn’t think that I would/could ever bench press/deadlift 95 lbs., full pushups, etc. Now, I still have a long way to go but I can feel the progress. The winter months are very harsh here in Chicago as you might know, and running outside can be a challenge especially at any temperature that has a negative “before” the number. Motivation to go run in the cold is sometimes hard and when you throw in 5:30 morning runs, the bed is so hard to leave. So even if I do not run I always strength train.
When I recommitted myself to running I did so with a new set of goals and purpose. I re-evaluated the reasons of why I run and looked at it from a different perspective. Running is my balance, my stress reliever, my inner chi. Running centers me whether I run 2 miles or 10 miles, just as long as I run. I do what I can do in terms of speed (or lack thereof) but I know how to pace myself for my needs and adjust accordingly. I had to pull back from all the hoopla that is centered on these races, FB posts, PRs, etc. and concentrate on what ILA can do and not other runners. I believe we all drank the “running Kool-aid” at one time or another, and the frenzy can be fierce if one gets sucked into the vortex. There will always be someone faster than me, better than me, so I just do ME, and I get the same bling when I finish!
When I started to analyze what I needed to do to help the mojo to come back, I decided to read a lot, catching up on my running magazines and books. In the very beginning, I fell in love with running when I read “Born to Run” for it came highly recommended. Now I own a plethora of books, magazines, blogs, and listened to podcasts, which I keep in my collection to refer to. To me the essence of running is how it makes one feel. So many people turn to running for weight loss, depression, lifestyle change, and most of all peace of mind. In my readings, I came across an article that talked about ultra running. The researcher that I am, I read many articles, a few books, tuned into a few ultra running podcasts, and spoke to a few people. Hence, I am going to do an ultra marathon, yup that’s right, stepping out on faith, and a lot of training!
I made the decision this past August that completing a 50K in 2016 is what I wanted to do and a fellow RunJunkEe will be doing it with me, way kool. I decided to volunteer last year at the Chicago 50/50 Lakefront race, which took place on 10/31/15. I arrived at 7:30am and left at 5:30pm it was, cold, raining, windy, and I loved it. The runners had it worse, they were soaked, cold, and miserable but they perservered, and appreciated the support that we gave them along with plentiful power snacks. There was a fair amount of RunJunkEes running and that just made my heart smile! We stayed until the last runner came past our aid station and I have not seen that before. All the runners were encouraging one another, some came back to lend them a helping hand so they could keep on pressing to finish the race. So, with all that being said I am now ULTRA BOUND in 2016. So follow me along in my QUEST FOR ULTRA!
This has been an interesting running year for I had more lows than high resulting in a major funk. When I look back the last races that I participated in were Ragnar, and then things just went south from there. I find it very interesting that the one thing that I love to do, I came at a crossroads with it. I got off the bandwagon so to speak and just did not feel like lacing hence, losing my mileage and my mojo (it needs a GPS).
After doing a bit of “soul/sole” searching, I learned that it is ok to feel that way, and probably will not be the last time, but also knowing how to deal with it. Even the elites have their highs/lows and will take off to regroup and get a fresh outlook. I discovered that I needed to have a goal set, something new and challenging to do to keep me interested if it is not a self induced “time out”. Now I know how to deal with it and adjust accordingly to the events that need to be tweaked.
I reconnected with my self and went back to the basics when I first started running. I started out running by myself because I did not have anybody to run with. My solo runs allowed me to run at my pace, and I did not have to apologize for not being able to keep up. I do enjoy running with my BRF but I also enjoy my solo runs for I just run against/with me.
Self-analysis can sometimes be very helpful and as well as extremely critical since we tend to be harder on our self than others. I decided to change my outlook with regards to running. I do not “have/need” to run but want to run, remembering that I enjoy it and getting the passion back. When a passion turns into a chore that is when the issues creep in so the balance needs to be kept. I have started a run/walk approach to work on my endurance, helps with the weight, as well as to get my base back. This took some of the mental pressure off of trying to be at a certain pace. I’m getting into a rhythm and letting my body get used to the new flow.
I now feel better knowing that I have renegotiated terms with myself for it is ok to change and adjust. I made a list of goals as to what I wanted to do in the new year of running, and had to include a “challenge” to spice it up a bit. So the challenge to myself as well as my long-term goal will be my first 50K (Chicago 50/50) in the fall of 2016. This will take a lot of preparation in terms of training, structure, nutrition, being obedient to the craft, and respecting the distance. Since I have prepared for and ran a marathon I know what it takes in terms of training but that too will be changed based on past experience.
So, as I move forward with my new blank year, I have started populating my calendar with a few races to run to get my sea (ground) legs back. I’m looking forward to the new challenges, goals, races, and most of all the NEW ME!! Happy Holidays to One and ALL!! #PROUDTOBEARUNJUNKEE
I think I’ve finally found my way back to the pavement. I know lately my blogs have been a bit “down” but it was how I was feeling at the time, and I know others get in that same “funk”. I did not have any races on the schedule after Ragnar hence, nothing to train for, which leads to no focus. I thought with no races that would give me time to chill, re-set, and breathe but work stress took that as a time to “step in”. It’s had been so long since I hit the pavement (3.5-4 weeks) my Garmin had issues when I turned it on, no power, dead, and it was ON the dang charger <lol>.
Earlier last month I made a long-term goal to do a big race for 2016, enlisted a coach, a trainer, and started getting myself in gear. So on October 31, I decided to volunteer at an aid station with the Flatlander Ultrarunners for the Chicago 50/50 race, and that ignited the flame that has been a very dull ember, not even a glow. I was out there from 7:30am and we did not leave until the last runner came in 5:30pm. The volunteering made me feel good for when I run races there is hardly anybody there except the cleanup crew since I am a B-O-P runner. Being around like-minded people talking about running for 10 hours was like music to my ears, a song I needed to hear, and a melody I had to re-tune into.
As I was driving home I told myself “you need a race” for the short term, something I can train for, set goals, and get back into the swing of things. I found a spring HM in April and that will help me get thru the winter knowing that I need to rebuild my base. It feels good to come back from a place that was uncomfortable, sad, and downright dismal. Anybody can get sucked into the vortex of a running/life funk but just do not stay there for any length of time. The mind can be your friend and your enemy for “self” is the worst enemy. I had started telling myself, “I’m tired, no need to run, you’re to fat, etc.” all the Jedi mind tricks <lol>.
When the mind takes over with negative talk, the whole body adapts accordingly. Only you (me) have the power to change it and to push through it. Since I have been running it was always my “pick-me-up” medicine. When things hurt-run, stress-run, troubles/problems-run yet again the mind can shut that all down. I had to get to a point where I could plan, refocus, and get centered. It has been said that it takes 21 days to form a habit, so I am on that current road to make the needed changes. I took my power back!
Once I decided to get back in gear again, I started reading my running books, magazines, blogs, looking into races, training plans, get things back on my schedule, and get my running blood flowing again. As they say “fail to plan, plan to fail” (or at least fall off wagon). My RunJunkee family keeps me motivated watching those who have overcome, achieve, and push beyond obstacles that I have never experienced. When people you’ve never met tell you that they’ve missed you it puts a smile on your face and when you’re not well they rally around you. I’m learning that everything does not have to be “epic”, just live in the moment, and enjoy life as it is lived.
So, I have the plan, planning the schedule, developing new habits, and creating a new mindset. I had to remind myself HEY, you’ve done three Ragnars, 18 HM, and one marathon so you know you can do it. Been there, done that, got plenty of bling and tee shirts to prove it. Like the line from one of my favorite movies “Shawshank Redemption" the character “Red” (Morgan Freeman), “Get busy livin or Get busy dyin”! I got a lot of miles to run and a lot of road to cover. I’m on the road again!!
We use our computers, tablets, and phones on a daily basis, and when something “does not compute” we “Reboot”. Well out bodies are no different and sometimes we need to “Reboot” in order to get back to the root of the issue and start over. Every now and then one should stop and take an inventory of what’s in and out of stock, mentally and physically so you know what you’re working with.
This is where I am at this point in time with regards to my personal space and time (August Blog). Work has been very overwhelming, which spilled over into my personal space. This is the worst running year I’ve had since I have been running (almost 5 years). Running became a chore and I was not feeling the desire as of late. Running used to make me feel great, de-stressed, free, and now I struggle to get out the door. I have fought the urge to just quit all together because I looked at what I had invested in terms of clothes, shoes, gadgets, etc. and most of all “PRIDE”.
I could not talk to a non-running friend for they would not understand and if I went to a fellow runner they may not as well so I decided to do some much needed soul/sole searching. I started my research on Ila, gathered the data, analyzed the details, and began to see the issues. The main thing was to break it down, taking it one step at a time, and that is when I determined I needed a REBOOT.
I had to admit that I had lost my running base + need core work + weight gain = Need Lifestyle Change. I have to take back control of the issues and not let them dictate to me. I do not know where I lost control but I do know that it is time to make changes. When I accepted these issues it made it somewhat tolerable in terms of knowing how to address them one at a time, and not tackle the whole enchilada like I normally do.
REBOOT sounds very befitting for I was in chaos, nothing was synching, connecting, and the information overload was more than my system could handle, hence sensory overload at its best. I turned everything off Facebook, Twitter, and a lot of social interactions in order to slowly put the pieces back together carefully. I have prioritized what needs to be done first but most of all I set short and long-term goals in all the areas that need to be restarted. I will change the things I can and just deal with the things that I have no control of BUT change the way I deal with them.
REBOOT takes everything back to the beginning, like the old DOS system when the pointer would just blink on the black screen until it had everything it needed to come to the surface and be used again. Implementing a schedule will help keep me focused but not to the point where I cannot breath or be flexible. As I stated earlier setting a goal so my training will have a purpose with something to strive for. Also, I have to remember I can only do what “I CAN DO” and do not worry what everybody else is doing. It is hard not to compare myself to others, which threw me in the slacker category and the cycle of “bad self talk” got out of control.
REBOOT I determined works if you allow it to. Let the system put the folders back into place, reorganize, shuffle around, and start anew. This is applicable in life as well for we are in control to a certain point, and when that maximum has been reached just go with the flow. The season has just changed from summer to fall so I thought this would be the time to change as well. I was always assessing what I could not do and not what I could do (glass half empty/full). So, I have a glass that is half full that can be filled as time goes on.
REBOOT will allow me to change my mind and implement new parameters. It will not be a cure all or a magic wand but if I use it as the fresh start that it can be, I do believe that my path will be better organized and doable. Everyone needs a shake out, shake up, and let the pieces fall where they may. Put the pieces in place very carefully so a firm foundation is built.
When looking at “self” we can be our own worst critic. As I have stated in my previous posts, I am an organizer to a fault basically in everything I do for I have a lot on my plate. Organization keeps me on the straight and narrow so when something “upsets” the proverbial applecart that’s when all hell breaks loose. This year of running has been sort of low key and ho-hum at best. I did not have the desire to race like I normally do, sort of like “been there-ran that”.
When I completed the back-to-back Ragnars that was sort of the end for me in terms of races. I just didn’t want to race any more for the summer and just log my miles. My job is very unpredictable so when it flares up it has to be all hands-on-deck, which throws my personal schedule off and really affects my running. I feel like things have been out of control at best, which in turn affects my attitude and performance. Now do understand this is what affects “me” and everyone is different therefore, if it’s not applicable to you then so be it.
My weight is a major factor for it really slows down my running (not that I was all that fast to begin with) and sometimes makes me want to stop all together. I feel like the Michelin woman on steroids (yes, I can laugh and talk about myself) just rolling along. There is something about running that I just cannot let go so I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. It is one of the goals that I just cannot seem to attain but I keep striving for it. I do not know if I really ever got my mojo back and that could be part of the problem as well. I am in the process of re-evaluating my routine, looking at how to change things, and implementing new things (yoga, cross training, etc.).
I set high goals and standards (not perfection) for myself and when I do not hit the mark or make bad matters worse it’s hard for me to get back on track. I have a hard time managing my health (weight, diabetes), and when those things become unstable then it has a snowball effect on everything that I do, then just add a dash of stress and work, well….. Those of you who do not have these battles have no idea so do not judge, again, if it’s not applicable then so be it. So, at this point in the crossroads of summer I’m trying to let the past be the past and move forward.
I do not have any race plans for the rest of the year for I just want to take the time to regroup and get a plan in place for the new year. I have some things on the back burner for next year that will be revealed at a later time if I decide to follow through. I need a shakeout, some downtime, me time, and a few “come to Jesus” meetings with myself. Just so you know, when I write my blogs I do not want to sound like I’m always down or having issues but I do try to keep it REAL. I like to keep things transparent because somebody may be able to relate and does not want to talk about it but knows that someone else feels the same way.
So the rest of this year for me is to work on the “Glass half full” part. If I keep the mind positive then everything will follow or at least think about it. So, I feel like the Rogue RJSA, kind of out there but still in touch.
Ciao for Now!!
I’ve Been to the Mountain Top, OMG!!
Where do I begin with my tale of Ragnar Wasatch Back, UT....
As I have stated before life is to short not to live it to the fullest well I was not shy this time around. When I did the Madison-Chicago Ragnar last year I was so excited and was ready to do another one. So I signed-up for it again BUT took it a step further and decided to do a back-2-back, which included Wasatch Back. Now for folks that know me know that I like my paths, give me asphalt and concrete all day for running, good solid footing. Utah is a pretty place very scenic with all of the mountains and I put it right up there with Arizona and Denver. The temperature was anywhere from 93*-99* so glad I had my sunscreen. I was not prepared for the "terrain of trail terror" when I was at Wasatch Back.
As you may or may not know Ragnar is a 200-mile relay consisting of a team of 12 unless it is an ultra team, which consist of 6-8 team members. I was runner number 6 not bad I figured I would be done early, chill, and wait on my fellow teammates.
My first leg was 7 miles that “started” at an elevation of 6402' and downhill for 4.2 miles with all the switchbacks. Let's pause right here....what the hell is a switchback (lol)?? I kept hearing the term being used and of course I learned very quickly along with my other new term, hairpin curve or turn. Again, I have never run on a mountain trail, in fact have not been on a mountain for any reason. As I descended down the mountain I said to myself "self this ain't to bad".
The goal was to take it slow and go down nice and easy, take in the sights, and coast downhill, well not so much. There’s nothing like going down a dirt road with sand, rocks, tree branches, and the forward momentum including my body wants to fly. My knees are beginning to have a conversation informing me that they Do Not like this, quads are singing, and my calves are pissed. The vans are on my right and the cliff edge on my left, if I fall and roll, I'm dead (at least God would not have far to come and get me). The heat is so hot my sweat is sweating, my water taste like hot water, and there is no van support, really sucks at this point but I keep going down. Now I know you trail runners out there may be laughing or saying “suck it up buttercup” but this is new to me and I’m TOTALLY out of my comfort zone. Again I do not do trails.
Now the hairpin turns, never seen anything like it let alone having to run it yes I'm running believe it or not! I slowed so I would not misstep and trip again, the vans are behind me and I'm praying they do not lose control again or I'm dead, such lovely thoughts. Finally I make it to flat ground and completed the remaining 3 miles. I have never been so happy to see a paved road so I thought. It only gets better!! My 2nd leg was not that bad at 3:00am had a teammate run with me because last year we had an issue on the night run and decided we would have two runners if needed. It was PITCH BLACK. Headlamps were virtually useless and the footing was awful again trail, I bout had enough of this mess at this point.
Nothing prepared me for my last and final leg. The last leg was 2.5 miles and noted as "easy" on the Ragnar Leg Map. Leg 3, I was so glad to know that I was almost done, going to knock out these 2.5 miles, shower, have a beer, and wait for Van 2 at the finish line. Well not so fast o gifted feet!! As I wait for my fellow runner to come in, the sun is shining like new money, 97* and no breeze, hence the Sahara Desert. I felt like a chocolate chip cookie left in the oven way to long (burnt up). As runner 5 comes in I am ready to go. My plan was to take it easy on the upward climb and then run into home base. As I ascended up what I thought was a “hill” on yet another trail, I noticed that I could not see the people who were in front of me, and did not know which way to go so I stayed on the narrow path. Then I looked up and saw the people were above me quite a bit, straining my neck as I look up to see them. Now my journey begins…..
It finally hit me that this is not a hill but a “MOUNTAIN” as I kept going up, getting higher and higher. At this point I decided I had to keep climbing for there was no other way to go but up and to far to go back the other way. The trail is slippery, rocky, gnarly, and scary for my footing is not that good. I feel like Spiderman scaling up a building, vertical, without the webbing, and had only my arms to keep my balance. The altitude is beginning to kick in for my breathing is getting harder and it is sooo hot for there is no shade. At this point people want to pass me and I’m so scared to move because there is nowhere to go or stop but they manage.
I’m still going uphill and it ain’t levelling out anytime soon so now I’m trying to keep the panic button from being pushed. I happened to look to my right and noticed that things looked like ants and that told me I was pretty high up, and I got a bit dizzy so I stopped to collect my bearings. Well I keep going up and finally someone is behind me another lady and she said “be careful there are snakes in the bushes” and I said “WTF” really??!! Now the panic has crept in again the fear is real, I gotta keep going up no other way. I’m so tired at this point, my quads are throbbing, my calves are tight as a drum, and trying to keep my emotions in check. Now the climb has gotten steeper just when I didn’t think it could get any steeper, and did I mention the upward hairpin curve??!! I almost had to pull myself up like rock climbing (which I’ve never done) should have watched a Youtube video on how to climb a mountain, Oh that’s right Ragnar didn’t tell me, this is considered easy by them.
The trail path is very narrow my feet could barely move, literally one foot in front of the other no side-by-side. I continue to climb, air getting very thin, I’m fried from the sun, and scared as HELL!! I finally make it to the top of the mountain, the sight is beautiful, and now I’m really scared. I had a conversation with GOD and told him I cannot do this and I’m so scared. I sent an S.O.S asked him to send me some help like now! I took two pictures and saw another young lady and asked if I could follow her down and she said yes, and so I meet Annie. Once we finished our pics she asked if I was ready to go and I said yes, but asked where was the path and she pointed. I FROZE, PETRIFIED, could not move and told her I cannot go down, she said there was no other way. S.O.S to GOD, uhh another request, how about a helicopter? Annie told me to hold her hand and step where she stepped, do not look left or right just at her feet.
I am really shaking at this time. I’d rather run in the dark than to do this, so I start my decent. The downward crawl was worse, nothing to hold onto but Annie’s arm. I cannot cry for the tears would jack up my vision like the sweat was doing. I’m in FULL PANIC FEAR MODE. Thought about how I would miss my family if something were to happen to me for one slip would do it, no second chances up there. Annie was my ANGEL for she got me to talk for she knew I was scared, told me when to drink water, and we kept on moving. I could not get a GPS signal on my watch (stuck on .42) nor a signal on my phone, and was to scared to stop and try at this point <lol>.I guess we had been up there for a while for Annie’s team called and she said everything was ok and she was helping a “friend” down the mountain.
As we are going down, a man is coming up to look for his wife and she was about 5 minutes behind me, and boy were they glad to see each other. I asked Annie how far had we come and she said not two miles yet, WHAT!!??? REALLY??!! She told me just to keep walking and plant my feet solid on the ground. I am really calling on the Saints, Jesus, and the Angels put me on hold for I was calling so much <lol>. We keep going down and at a small clearing I think I see one of my teammates. I told Annie I must be delusional for I’m seeing things a mirage of my teammate but I was wrong, not a mirage, it was JIM. Talk about a site for sore eyes. He said everyone was getting worried and someone had to look for me and he volunteered. What sparked this is that my team saw people coming in and asked how far were they coming from and pointed to the mountain and that is when they got scared.
FINALLY, we made it to the bottom, wobbly knees and all. I got my bearings and my footing for I had to walk a bit to get steady. I told Annie I DO NOT WALK ACROSS THE FINISH LINE, I dug real deep, and called up all the reserves that I had left. Jim told us to go ahead so Annie and I ran arm-in-arm together to the final exchange. OMG I was sooooo happy and could no longer contain my emotions. I hugged Annie with all of my heart for she did not have to stay with me, GOD answered my prayers and sent me her. I hugged Jim for coming to look for me for I was still about a little over half a mile out. When I made it to my team they pointed to where I came from and I was shocked. The mountain sign said PC (Park City) and I was above that sign kind of like the HOLLYWOOD sign in California. The elevation was 6800’ both ways and I DID IT!!! Once the last runner came in (#12) the team honored me with the baton telling me that my last leg was epic. I was in total shock and the tears flowed for I have never been so humbled. I learned a lot about myself on June 20, 2015. Even in adverse situations GOD still has your back but you have to TRUST AND BELIEVE. It was touch and go but I was determined to come back in one piece ALIVE.
What’s on the agenda for now is to get stronger and healthier for this was the biggest challenge of my life. Running has showed me that I can DO when I need to. Running has allowed me to do more than the average person who does not move at all. I may not be fast, make PR’s, or break records but I RUN FOR ME!! I RUN!!
Las Vegas has Poker, Blackjack, Roulette, and people flock there to “hit” their lucky numbers. Runners on the other hand have PB’s and PR’s that we try to “hit” when we race or run. It is very easy to get caught up in the numbers racket regardless of what level of runner that one is because there is so much emphasis on, “how did you do”, “what was your pace”, or “I need to PR/PB” for I did not do well the last race or training run. God forbid you are a Back-of-the-Packer for folks just “shun” you like the plague.
When I first started running I got caught up in the so-called numbers racket because everybody around me was doing 8-9-10 minute miles and I was happy with at 12:30 on a “good” day. I would have a few good races where I could bring my half marathon in under 3:00 hours but not on a consistent basis. I know one has to do speed work, fartleks, hill training, 24-7, and that sort of time I do not have. Am I that type of runner, do I want to be that type of runner? Maybe not!
After I began to accept that certain numbers were not attainable for me (at least not without some serious work), I took a different perspective on the whole numbers thing. I started running to lose weight and to become healthier. If I get a few good times in along the way when running then that is all well and good. Everybody and every “body” are different in terms of how they run, the reasons they run, and the goals to run for. It used to bother me when I felt I didn’t measure up to those who were faster for I would apologize for being slower. WELL NO MORE!! If you have a need for speed then the pavement is yours.
A lot of running clubs state they have a pace for all runners and that is not so. That is why I usually run alone for most do not run at my pace. When I push for a particular PR or PB it’s for ILA and nobody else. I compare myself to MYSELF for when I beat my last times that is an accomplishments for me. Don’t get me wrong, I admire those who can really kick some ass-phalt, they are built that way, train that way, and work hard for it. I also kick some ass-phalt for I am not on the couch, I get my miles in, and I cross the finish line like everybody else.
As runners you know we tend to turn a deaf ear-blind sight when something tries to sideline us from running. We tend not to listen to our bodies because we “assume” that if we do not run that makes us less than a runner. We will pretend that something is “not that bad” or “I'm just a little tired” and we refuse to pull up and take note of what is going on. Yes, I AM GUILTY.
I have been saddled with a sinus infection for the past two weeks and still have a persisting cough. Now it started out when a friend of mine died suddenly two weeks ago, only 48 years old, and left a wife and three children. That was very overwhelming to me and then another friend’s Mother died of cancer and the services were back to back. I handle stress pretty good but when you throw in grief that is just a hard pill to swallow. My throat was on fire but I still was running, coughing horrifically but still running, see the pattern. Went to the doctor (who is a runner) and she said NO RUNNING, and I was like a deer in headlights, just starring at her, really, seriously? Not even just a little bit (I’m begging at this point-LOL).
As a runner I would feel that if running can’t cure what ails me then nothing can, WRONG. My body knew better for I had a fever, loss of appetite, and no strength, achy joints, and just overall not feeling good. Once again, my body was asking me to just stop and let it heal, let the medication do what it was supposed to do. Well, I felt somewhat better on about day five and decided that I just had to get my 10mile run in, got a race coming up (not like I’m Meb or Shalane-lol). I became creative, I ran 5 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon with a twist got caught in a downpour, so not good. Hence, I had no choice but to surrender to my body for I had to take off from work because I could not get out of bed. Fast forward I began to get better slowly but surely. The medication finally began to work but I was still a bit weak, and had to gain my strength back.
Now mind you I am two weeks down from running desire barely there, disgusted with how I really feel, and just sat down and wondered should I really try to get back to where I was. Well fast forward I ran the half on 5/2, it was brutal but I finished. What I’ve learned it that the body will do what it has to do if the mind lets it. The body will also shut down if it needs to heal whether we like it or not for its job is to fight off stuff. I have also leaned that it is ok to take days off it one needs to heal, rest, or just plug in and rejuvenate. With me being down for two weeks it gave me the opportunity to really evaluate my running, get a plan, and decide on what to do.
It amazes me how we take care of others, recharge cell phones, take care of our vehicles, but sometimes lose sight of self. We are the most important; the engine that pulls everything, with that being said, we need to “treat” ourselves accordingly. Eat well, live well, rest well, and in return the body will love us back. I’m going to run and rejuvenate the body. Start practicing what I preach to others and be grateful that I can do these things in order to move forward!