Lessons from the Universe

20160809_170516Eight months ago I was sitting anxiously at Dulles waiting for a tiny little ball of fluff to clear customs. After the heart break of “the dog that wasn’t” I hadn’t intended on getting another puppy, let along a feral dog from Afghanistan but in the weird world of the interwebs our paths crossed and I knew from the moment I saw her that she was my dog.  Now I am convinced that the Universe sent her to teach me about myself.  I pretty much realized this when the very first picture captured of her she had her tongue sticking out at the camera.  (Subtle like a sledgehammer Universe.)

Charlotte, while yes still technically a puppy when she got here, is still a feral dog.  She is a product of survivors.   Between being a source of food, target practice, or dog fighting life expectancy isn’t good her kind in Afghanistan. She was incredibly lucky that some soldiers took in her pregnant mama (against the rules, by the way) and they knew of a charity that would help them find the puppies homes in the States.

The first few weeks here she was super skittish about everything, but her bravado was big.  While her tail was tucked between her legs she would still act like she wasn’t scared.  (Subtle Universe, subtle.) Over time she began to trust me.  She still won’t effuse love the way that Perry does, but here and there she demonstrates it.  As she grew to trust me her personality began to show.  She has a wicked sense of humor.  She can also throw the best fuck you face I have ever seen in a dog.

Still the only time she will be vulnerable and cuddle with me is early in the morning in that time between waking up and actually getting out of bed.  I learned if I “nibbled” on her coat with my fingers the way that she did with Perry she responded positively.  She started licking my arm or burying her head in my neck and sighing in response.  What started off as just a few seconds slowly grew to a few minutes.  She isn’t, nor ever will be, the cuddle sponge that HRH is, but the fact that we have developed a way to express our love for each other is huge.  I guess we just had to learn each others love language.  (Again, subtle Universe.)

Don’t get me wrong, there are days that we can’t tolerate each other.  She hates it when I put the citronella bark collar on her when I’m trying to write a paper.  I hate it when she destroys something she knows she shouldn’t.  No love is perfect, not even HRH at his ripe age of 9.  (Universe I learned this one a long time ago, thanks for the reminder though.)

Patience has never been a virtue of mine.  Throughout my life the Universe has sent various lessons into my life to teach me patience.  Apparently for all the strides that I thought I was making, I guess, the Universe felt otherwise.  Love is patient, love is kind (1 Cor 13 4-13) takes on a whole new meaning when after 8 months someone is finally asking for belly rubs something that I take for granted with HRH.   She has started to trust me to the point where she will cross over a creek on a tree suspended 6 feet in the air.   For all the lessons the Universe as taught me about myself I’d think she has learned that she can trust and love which runs counter to her every survival instinct.

Oh baby trail dog, I look forward to all of our adventures. IMG_2603

Bull Run Run 50: A Volunteer’s Perspective

If you aren’t familiar with any of the Civil War the Battle of Bull Run was a significant battle between Union and Confederate forces.  (Kid friendly video here) Today, much of that ground is either National Park land or part of the Bull Run Occoquan Trail.  Bull Run Run 50 takes place on the entire length of the BROT as well as in Fountainhead Regional Park.   It especially beautiful this time of year with the bluebells in bloom.

Friday:

This past week here in the mid-Atlantic we’ve been getting pummeled by storms.  On Thursday there was even a EF0 that went through DC.  Friday morning a small band of hearty souls descended on the BROT with surveyors tape to mark the BRR50 course.  I had never done course marking before, but I was lucky enough to be paired with Q.  Q very much reminds me of the Mystics in Dark Crystal; he knows all, is one with the universe, and is patient oh my word is the man patient.   Anyway, Q and I headed northwest from Hemlock towards the marina.  We were to run 7 miles up then we turn around and power hike/mark on the way back, no problem.

We hadn’t even hit the first quarter mile and, Houston, we had a problem.  Normally IMG_2603there are seven concrete cylinders that allow you to hopscotch across the creek.  Remember that rain I mentioned?  All of the cylinders were all under at least 8 inches of water.  While we could (sort of, kind of, if you squinted) see 5 of them, 2 were completely gone.  Well crap.  The water was too deep and moving a little too fast for us to cross normally.  I scouted up the creek and came across the perfect solution, a tree 8 feet in the air over the creek.  Q went across first.  Charlotte, much to my surprise, happily followed Q right across.

We continued up the trail and conditions started to deteriorate.  It was like trying to run on a slip and slide.  Q kept the RD updated with pictures (several included us covered in mud after wiping out). We came to another creek crossing with no cylinders.  I vaulted myself up  4′ off the ground onto the tree and clamored across.  Charlotte didn’t follow me and was now stuck on the other side.  Q (being the superhero that he is) crossed the creek IMG_2629carrying her.   Now this is huge for a couple of reasons.  First, Charlotte is skittish of all people, but especially men.  Second, to be carried by a strange man?   As Q said, “I could tell the hamster wheel was turning in her head saying, this seems to be endorsed by mom so it must be ok.”

When we hit Old Centerville Rd. there was construction on the bridge with a 3 foot fence under the bridge that sucked us toward it due to the tilt of the ground.  We managed to slip and slide our way across but Q texted the RD. Yeah, this was a definite no go.  300+ runners moving up and back across this slick 10 inch wide mud patch, no way.  There was no way to go over the road either (plus that’s just as dangerous).  One course change coming up.   We turned around and started flagging the course south.  Start to finish to mark ~14 miles: 6 hours.  I felt (and looked) like I had just run a Spartan Beast.

Saturday

Race day! I had been assigned to Do Loop.  Why is it called Do Loop? WellIMG_2643, just like in computer programming you can get stuck in the loop.  (Rumor has it one year a runner did it 4 times before he realized it.) At 0830 I opened the gate and waited for the aid station Captain, Eddie, to arrive.  He has done aid stations for years and you could tell.  Not only did he have every food known to man, but he had inflatables!   All of the volunteers got busy setting everything up.  We turned our aid station into party central.  I was hyper vigilant about making sure that we separated peanut/nut things from everything else.  Including cutlery.  I also ensured that gluten/non-gluten items were separated.  I explained why to the other volunteers.  They all said the same thing, “Wow I’d never thought about this before.”

The first runners came through in a trickle and then the trickle became a river.  All of the volunteers settled into their chosen roles.  I played shortstop filling in where necessary, but my primary role quickly became watermelon slicer.  By the time all 12 were gone I had become a pro!   Even with all of the runners that came through there were a couple that stood out and instilled some lessons in me;

  1. Aid station workers are there to help you.  There was a runner that came through that was breathing really heavy on the way into the Do Loop. They said their stomach was upset and they know that not eating is their biggest weakness.  They looked, well, awful.  We got a slice of watermelon into them on the way out, but we all talked about it and decided on the way back we needed to try to encourage them to get something into their system.  On the way back we managed to get another slice of watermelon and little bit of noodles and broth into them.   I just hope that it helped.
  2. Don’t be an a-hole, say thank you.  All of the runners who said thank you especially having had a couple of grumpasauruses come through meant a lot.  Hey, I get that at mile 30 the last thing you want to be is nice, but the volunteers are there giving up their weekend so that you can run through the woods.  (See #1, we are there to make sure you make it to the finish.)
  3. Be a good competitor. Sitting at Do Loop with the out and back traffic you got to see some of the best in people; encouraging other runners on.  Sometimes it was the runners further back encouraging the leaders, sometimes it was the leaders encouraging the folks in the back.  That is why I love my trail running family.
  4. The little things matter. This one is more for the RDs and other volunteers.  Remember that separation of allergens that I mentioned earlier?  We had a runner come through and stare at the table.  I asked them what they wanted, salty/sweet/protein?  “I’m Celiac”, they stated.  Oh! No problem, we had checked all the ingredients, we pointed to the zones of foods they could eat.   I don’t think I saw a more grateful runner all day.

IMG_2651All in all I probably spent too much time outside in the past two days as now I’m wheezing up a storm, but it was worth it.  I had a grand time and the runners seemed to have a grand time.  I even got to see several of my friends blow through.  Sweaty hugs are the best hugs!

Can’t wait for next year!

A brick(Ish) workout

Many moons ago,  I was having lunch with The Bicycle Whisperer, a friend of mine who does historical restorations of WW2 bicycles.  I mentioned to him that some day I wanted him to make me a custom pink and orange bike.  I think I saw him initially cringe, but then he started to really embrace the quirkiness of it.  Five years later, Ish came into my life.  His name is Ish because he is a 1943(ish) bike.  Since I didn’t need a 100% restoration my bike is a hodge podge of various parts.  Now, Ish is heavy.  He’s nearly 40 pounds, has 2 gears, but he’s gorgeous.  In my mind he is a very fabulous 1940s gay man.  Yes, I am aware he is an object and not real, but if you met Ish you’d think the exact same thing.

Yesterday, I had a few events in DC.  Knowing that parking and safe track are making moving around downtown a pain in the rear .It would take too long to run it all as I had to pick up my food at the farm by 1.  I realized that this would be the perfect opportunity for Ish to make his road (and DC) debut.

I parked near Barracks Row and pulled Ish out of the back of the car.  (Note to self; I really need to buy one of those bar things for him so he can ride on the bike rack.) I rode the mile to the Team RWB/Team Rubicon Run as One event at Anacostia Park.

img_2539Run as One is not about distance or time.  It’s about being supportive of each other as a group.  That’s the great thing about my military family, we may be dysfunctional at times, but at least we put the FUN in dysfunctional!  It was great seeing a bunch of folks again.  I broke out my old school InkNBurn pirate pants because as a Navy veteran with more days at sea on a Coast Guard Cutter (who are called “puddle pirates” by the “real” Navy folks) it was funny on many levels.

After the run I hopped back on Ish and rode the 3 miles across town to the National Building Museum to the Cherry Blossom Expo to meet the Altra Running guys (and scope out any awesome sales). Surprisingly, for a girl who has never ridden in DC before, and a girl who hasn’t ridden on the roads since college when my head was bounced off of the pavement after being hit by a car I did ok.  There were a couple of scary moments, but being on tank of a bike (and wearing a helmet AND a high visibility jacket) made me feel a little bit better.

The Cherry Blossom 10 miler expo actually had a bike valet.  It was really cool, I rode up, they covered my bike seat with a number and then they texted my phone with the number as my claim ticket.  As they took Ish away, they said he was definitely the coolest bike they had seen all day.  Once at the Expo I made a beeline for the Altra tent.  That’s img_2545really why I was there anyway.  I wanted to meet the local reps.  Yeah, yeah, busted and I wanted to see if they had any of the Torin IQs.   I stayed a while helping out Ed with the crush of people.  When there was finally a lull he offered me a Picky Bar!  I will never turn down a Picky Bar.  As RoadRage Runner and I have always said, “the true testament to a friendship is whether you are willing to share your Picky Bars or not” (especially if its an Ah. Fudge Nuts!)  I guess I must have made Ed’s good side!  I made a lap around the expo and headed out to Ish.  Then I rode back to Barracks Row. Up Capitol Hill.

Now, one of the biggest lines I remember hearing from a certain spin instructor is “don’t be a pusher.” He liked to say in spin, “there are those people that push their bike up Capitol Hill.  Don’t be a pusher, be a rider.”  Now, let’s revisit the fact that Ish is 40 pounds and that he only has 2 gears.  However, I was DAMMED if I was going to get off of Ish and push him up that hill (which for the record isn’t that big.)  Fuck.  That.  Shit.  I used every muscle in my leg, back, and core that I could muster to get both of us up that hill.  Reaching Pennsylvania Ave I was very proud of us both.  Instead of cutting down 8th to the car I cut down 7th to go right by Biker Barre to say thank you, and to point out to Ish that he could be a sad indoor bike and not a cool outdoor bike.  Again, yes, I know he isn’t alive.

Total miles run: 1.5

Total miles ridden: 7

Yep, a brick(Ish) workout.

Trying to stabilize my asthma

A couple of weeks ago I had a regular appointment with my asthma doc.  You know the one that yells at me regularly when I do stupid shit.  It is in her job description (at least I think so.)  Anyway, we started having a discussion about my asthma, grad school, and how all of my papers have something to do on the impacts to respiratory issues.  That’s when she brought up the idea of immunotherapy (aka: allergy shots).

“There are no upper or lower limits to the effectiveness to shots, you know?”

I told her that I hadn’t considered it because her predecessor had said in adults they were only 25% effective.  She quickly dismissed this, told me to look at some of the studies, and then said that if I was interested we’d have to do a new round of allergy testing as my last test was 10 years old.

“Honestly, at your age your asthma should be stable.  It’s not.”

We covered the protocol required for me to have the allergy testing done and scheduled it for the following week.

If you’ve never had allergy testing done before, it starts with numbering of your back followed by a series of “scratches” done on your back with various items that folks are notoriously allergic to (cats, dogs, various trees, dust, etc). Then anything that shows some signs of reaction, but not enough to make a definitive call , they then stick more serum under your skin to see how it reacts.

I shared these pictures with a friend of mine.

“Ok, so what are you allergic to?” they inquired.  I rattled off all of the things.  They were appalled.  “Wait, aren’t you a trail runner?”

“Yep.”

“Don’t you do Spartan Races and CrossFit?!”

“Yep.”

“What???”

Pretty sure that is my asthma docs feelings on the whole thing too.  Now we wait for my serum to be developed. Hopefully, this will help because I am not about to give up any fun outside.

Asheville Half: 2016 vs 2017

Last year Jewel and I ran the Asheville Half together. It was such an amazing race experience that we decided almost immediately that we wanted to run it again.  We even managed to recruit GardenerGirl and one of Jewel’s friends to run it with us. What a difference a year makes on a whole host of levels.

IMG_2309Let’s start with the temperature.  Last year it was 60+ degrees out we were in shorts and tank tops.  This year it was only in the 20s.  For this little asthmatic who already suffered in the cold and now has massive issues in the cold this didn’t bode well.  I gave serious consideration at not running at all, and then at mile 8 when I got cold, due to the wind, I gave serious consideration to dropping.   There were just not enough layers in the world to keep that wind from biting through me.

Then let’s talk about the race experience.  The race last year gave us quite a bit of swag.  We got gloves in our goodie bag and a finishers blanket. This year, when we could use the gloves we didn’t get any and instead of a blanket we got a metal finishers cup.  Honestly, the swag was on the reasons why we decided to run again.  Have to admit I’m a little disappointed this year.  Even the expo didn’t have nearly as many vendors as last year.  I know it seems petty, but come on now.

As for the running I knew I was going to be on the struggle bus.  Grad school has been sucking the majority of my stress bandwidth making my runs challenging. Combine that with the temperatures and all I wanted to do was finish in one piece.  My time this year definitely showed the impact that school and the temperature had on me as I finished nearly a minute per mile slower than I did last year.  Given that I gave serious consideration to dropping at mile 8 the fact that I finished at all is a miracle.

Even though it was cold I have to say that the spectator support was amazing.  While not IMG_2337nearly as many folks were out this year as last year, the ones that were out really brought their A game in terms of signs.  My favorites made me laugh which is always a good sign, especially when you are on the struggle bus.

There are two things I learned from this race: 1.) Cold weather is definitely off the table for me.  Anything over 4 miles in below 40 degree temperatures is just completely off the table.  I just can’t generate the body heat to keep me warm nor are my lungs happy.  2.) Road running is most definitely not for me it just doesn’t make me (or my body) happy.

 

Escalante: Scientifically proven to improve my running

It’s no secret I’m an Altra Running girl.  The overflowing basket by my door is filled with Lone Peaks and Torins of many generations.  I have my running shoes, then they get down graded to my wear around campus shoes, then they get downgraded to yard work shoes with their final destination when they are well past worn to the recycle bin at the local running store.

Recently I acquired a pair of Escalante.  I’ve been doing more running on pavement lately and I wanted to try something beyond the Torin.  (Hey in my defense don’t ever knock a shoe that you love.) From the moment I put them on my feet I was in love.  The dreamy feel of the knit made me feel like I was walking on a cloud.  I’m going to have to buy another pair of these just for dashing across campus.

Then I actually ran in them.  My GPS watch tells me my per minute foot strike.   The running clinics I have participated in and many articles all say that same thing, as a runner you should aim for 180 as your number.  In my Torins even when doing “speed work” (I’m slow so speed is relative) my average number is around 162 plus or minus 5.  My first run in the Escalante doing the same speed work? 179.  I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

I took them out for a spin a couple of days last week and they were ever so dreamy.  My first run I was only going to do 2 miles and I wound up doing 3, including one down the shoulder of a 4 lane highway because I didn’t want to turn around at the 1 mile mark.  Then I took them out on the streets of Annapolis.  If you’ve never been there many of the streets and sidewalks are “paved” with brick.  Brick is awful to run on.  I finished a 4.5 mile run over mainly brick streets and felt great.

Overall, I’m highly impressed with this shoe.  I’d better go order another pair for school.  I don’t want to ever take these off my feet.  Now, if we could just fix my lungs….

 

Running on empty: School Edition

“Honey you really tempt me, You know the way you look so kind, I’d love to stick around, but I’m running behind. You know I don’t even know what I’m hoping to find. Running into the sun but I’m running behind.”-Jackson Browne

To quote the dear Jackson Browne, I’m running on empty.  School has been kicking my ass this semester.  It’s not just the five, yes five, classes I’m taking, but it’s the group projects and individual homework load.  There are a couple of classes I’m struggling with (one of which is BioStats, surprise surprise), but it’s nice to know I’m not the only one struggling.  My classmates and I are all in the same stress filled boat (as sick as that sounds).  How does this relate to my running?

There is a limit to the amount of stress your body can handle. Once you’ve hit your limit you can’t handle any more.  You’re done.  It doesn’t matter the kind of stress that it is; your body doesn’t recognize that running stress is different than 4 hours of Biostat homework stress.  It just recognizes it as stress and because my system already is duct taped together (thanks asthma) I have to be even more careful as it doesn’t take much to take the whole system offline and no one has time for that kind of bullshit right now.  What this translates to is a change the direction and focus of my workouts.

For now, anyway, I’ve had to temporarily suspend any dreams of increasing my per mile pace or even training for another 50k.  Why?  Again, only so much stress to go around and since work is paying for me to go back to school (and I have to keep a B or better) my focus absolutely has to be on school.  School stress>running stress.

This does’t mean that I’m not running.  It also doesn’t mean that I’m not ‘racing’.  Although, to be fair, with my slow times I’m never racing; the only person I’m trying to beat is myself.  It just means that I need to be mindful in my workouts.  It means I run for the joy and not for the X number of miles or the X pace.   It means that since I’m already running on fumes I need to experience the joy of working out.   It means that if I want to go to yoga instead of running, that’s ok.  It means if I want to go climbing instead of running, that’s ok.  It means that if I need to sit at the dining room table for 6 hours and work on a paper instead of working out at all that’s really ok!

It’s hard because I like to push myself.  I like to improve over my old time.  I like to see and feel those tangible results.  However, I also realize school>running and breathing>not breathing.   I’m working on embracing this shift.  It’s a work in progress.

 

Joyful double digits

It’s been two months to the day since I’ve done a double digit run.  I’ve been trying to be super careful coming back in an attempt to, I don’t know, NOT break me again.  With the Asheville Half Marathon coming up I needed to start ramping up my mileage to ensure that I was going to be able to crush last year.  Ok, ok, crush may be a bit too harsh of a word.  Let’s try: I want to do better than I did last year.

Em is back and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.  I love running with her.  Not saying I don’t love running with all of my friends, but Em is my favorite (shhh, don’t tell anyone else).  When she asked if I wanted to go for a run I unequivocally said HELL YES!  I told her I needed to do 10 miles, but I wanted to go “my slow”.  Her slow and my slow are very different creatures.

We decided to do an out and back on the C&O Canal, but we parked further up river from Georgetown.  Fewer people and less hassle.  Today was one of those golden days of running.  Not too hot, not too cold.  My lungs were super happy.  Honestly, the miles flew by.  Even with a couple of stops along the way, one for a SUPER cute 9 week old puppy, we still managed to finish sub-2:00.

Today’s run was exactly what I wanted it to be. Joyful.  We gossiped, we laughed, we spoke of all sorts of winding topics, but at the end of it all I felt was happy.  That, my friends, is a good thing.


 

New science, old science 

“If you told me you were holding crystals I’d tell you you were full of shit. Acupuncture, though, don’t know how it works but holy crap it works.” -My brother the doubter

Ever since the nuclear meltdown 50k I’ve been struggling. Just getting out of bed exceeded my energy capacity. I’ve been foggy and sleeping all the time.  Definitely not generating any of my own body heat. Thank God I’ve been on break from school. Functioning on a daily basis became challenge.

I somehow managed to guilt myself into running and going to CrossFit. How? You know the typical Roman Catholic way: guilt.  You don’t want to be lazy, do you? You don’t want to get fat again, do you?  Yet my progress was not going forward but rather backward. Weight was coming off the bar. My heart rate was spiking and staying at 165 at a WALK.

I took a week off to see if rest would fix it. When I went back my HR was worse than before. Um, yeah, time to go see doc. As I sat in his office showing him the data (logs are super helpful) and described what’s been going on it wasn’t basic functionality that I craved. No. What did I cry? I just want to run again!! Ok, maybe basic functionality would be nice.

I went from doing all the things to none of the things. What was wrong with me??? Several vials of blood later he sent me on my way and we waited for answers.

While waiting for answers I went digging on scientific articles on iron and discovered there are two types of iron: heme and non-heme. Heme (meat sources) has more bioavailability than non-heme (plant) sources. The nutritional recommendation for vegetarians and vegans is 1.8 times that of meat eaters.  I’m not a vegetarian, but I’m not a huge meat eater. Most of my protein comes from plants and cheese. Huh. Maybe I should start taking iron.

Meanwhile, I had an appointment with the acupuncturist. He and I also had a frank conversation about what was going on. He stuck some pins in new places (adrenals) and sent me on my way with a vitamin specifically designed for athletes stating that there was most likely a trace mineral or series of vitamins I dumped from my system. We also scheduled an appointment for him to do some testing on various energy fields for later in the week.

On Monday my bloodwork came back. Thyroid (part of your adrenals) a bit sluggish and SED rate high. SED rates show levels of inflammation in the body. More bloodwork scheduled for Saturday.  Huh, maybe that acupuncturist was onto something….

By Tuesday (day 3) of iron & vitamins I was feeling more clear in my processing. By Thursday I felt sassy enough (plus it was 70*) to try a short run to see what my heart was going to do. It still rocketed up but not nearly as high and I was able to run with it (granted not as fast) at 140. Progress.

Thursday night he did my readings. I didn’t tell him what my blood tests showed. I wanted to see what he was going to find. He laughed because he said that anything that he introduced it would hem and haw until he reintroduced it and then if it didn’t like it it would react strongly. Tolerant until pushed. Huh kind of like the rest of me.

His readings indicated disgruntled thyroid. (Confirmed by bloodwork) Also bacterial infection in sinuses. Lungs had fungus and bacteria. All of which would elevate my SED rate. The most interesting thing was, though, when working the heart he zeroed in on a CoQ10 imbalance. CoQ10 is an enzyme needed for ATP production (turning food into energy). Most folks get enough from their diet oily fish (allergic) and whole grains (allergic). Neither of these things he knew. SO, if I’m not eating oily fish or whole grains it would make complete sense I need CoQ10.

Tomorrow I go back to Doc to have further bloodwork done. We still need to figure out what’s going on.  In the meantime Doc has said if I feel like working out to go for it. I shall call that a GTG!

2016: I survived, barely

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”- Hunter S. Thompson

I set about this year with a plan.  I wanted to push myself.  I wanted to see just how far I could go.  According to the statistics I did 247 workouts burning over 125k calories, and moving 883 miles.  Now, those aren’t 100% accurate because I regularly forget my watch, but those are still numbers I’m proud of.   While, granted, I have other friends that crossed well into the 2k miles for the year each one of those 883 miles, for me, were hard earned.

What those numbers don’t portray is the amazing experiences that this year has brought about.  This year I completed my first Spartan Trifecta.  While I IMG_9132may have started the journey because of He Who Shall Not Be Named I found some amazing people along the course who have become wonderful friends.  I root for them, they root for me, but most importantly they are phenomenal humans I’m thankful to call friends. While Spartan Racing isn’t necessarily at the top of my things to do again, with the right company I could probably be persuaded. Maybe.

This year has also been a year of firsts for others in my life.  Bella’s first 5k.  GardeningGirl’s first 10k and her first 15k!   CrossFit Runner and ShooterGirl also got into the action with CrossFit Runner doing her first trail 10k race and ShooterGirl doing her one (and only) run longer than 800m. Windchime and I got to share time on the ECSUT 50k course, her first, and all done without training. I was lucky enough to be there for all of these huge mile stones.  I’m lucky that I have these amazing people in my life.
IMG_89202016 will be forever the year that I started doing back to back races (challenges).  Starting with Florida (Glass Slipper Challenge), North Carolina (Double Dare), and Colorado (Elk Double).  Pushing myself and my distance is something that I’m still working on as witnessed by my first and second attempts at a 50k.

This is also the year, though, where I truly learned that I am not like the other kids on the playground.  My asthma really reared it’s ugly head and has started to let me know where my limits are.  I also truly learned the lesson that I have some amazing friends in my life who will absolutely be there no matter what.  To those friends, you know who you are, I love you for who you are.  We make up one badass family.

2017 is going to be a year of change and challenge.  I may not be able to run the number of races that I ran this year, but that’s ok because the locations of where I do run are going to be AMAZING. My plan is to work within the box that I have on any given day vice fight against it.  I’m going to focus on getting stronger to help me hold up longer on the trails.  Finally, I’m going to be incredibly lucky to be able to train in some gorgeous territory in 2017.