2018: The Year of the Elephant

There is this very old joke/parable; how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!  2018 is going to be my year of the elephant.  He even has a name: Twisted Fork 64k. Hmm, maybe I’d better give him a nickname.

Last fall when I was out in Park City to running the 50k I got asked nicely/suckered into signing up for this race.  The good news is that it is at the end June which means no snow (hopefully).  The other good news is that I have multiple friends who are also doing it.  Granted they will be WAY far out in front of me, but knowing that they will be there when I’m done will be a comfort.

As I started putting in my training calendar as designed by the uber awesome Kayla I started to hyperventilate.  Holy crap this is a lot. What if I break.  What if my lungs don’t cooperate.  What if I have another major physical blowout?  What if, what if, what if.   I know I need to get out of my head, but when you are staring at the entire elephant to eat it becomes overwhelming.  I decided that I am only putting 30 days worth of training in at a time into the calendar.  That way I can’t get completely overwhelmed.

This week looks like this:

1 1/1/18 CF 5 m run (2 mi of speed) 3 m run CF Rest 8 = 16 total for the week Yoga 1/7

I keep telling myself I will take it one week at a time and one day at a time if need be.


Trail Running: Inclusion

This past weekend I finally got some “mountain” time. I use the quotes because let’s face it 3300′ is not a mountain, but work with me here.  Yes, I fully admit I’ve become a mountain snob, but I digress.  I considered myself lucky as one of the ‘big kids’ from VHRTC wanted to log some slow miles and that’s my speciality.

I pulled into the parking lot and realized that I had two left shoes.  Not only did I have two left shoes I had two different models of left shoes. F*$K.  Lucky for me I had another pair of shoes in the trunk of the car.  Granted they weren’t trail shoes, but they would work, but I wouldn’t be nearly as fast as I could be.  I profusely apologized.  They were nonplussed.  Now, they could have said, “You’re a moron.  I’m going by myself.” Instead they were welcoming and warm because “we’ve all done it one time or another.”

As we were trucking along we got to chatting about why I love it out west so much.  I told them about the Wasatch Mountain Wranglers and the Sunday runs with Park City Running Company.  I told them about how every single run the fast kids take turns waiting at intersections to ensure that the new and/or slow never get lost.  I told them about my first Wednesday Wrangler trail run in Park City and how wonderful a specific Wrangler was to me saying in their thick southern accent, “I was a flatlander once too, don’t worry it will come.”  I told them about how I don’t feel welcomed at the group runs or events here because I am slow.  I told them how the group runs I actually come over prepared with maps (print and digital) because I know that I am going to be left to “fend for myself” and that I always wear my SPOT for that exact reason.  I think they were stunned hearing my perspective.

See, when you’re a fast kid you don’t think about these things.  When you were fast enough to keep up with the super experienced guys you just learned by osmosis.  When you are a slow kid you either stop trail running all together or you learn by making mistakes.  Sometimes those mistakes are extremely costly.

Then last night on one of the FB boards someone said some things that they shouldn’t have in a public forum about a local race.  Instead of not commenting at all, deleting it all together, or offering potential words of advice on how to improve the next time the group turned nasty.   I read all 187 comments this morning.  Every.  Single.  One.  What I saw were comments like “go back to road running.”  These are people I know who individually are wonderful, nice, caring people.  However, for some reason the mob mentality took over and it became a free for all.  Granted the original poster said some unkind things and should not have said anything in a public forum as trail runners we are supposed to be a supportive and inclusive family.  When we are out in the middle of nowhere we depend on each other to ensure that if something happens we aren’t abandoned and left to fend for ourselves.

I recently saw a thread on Twitter from the TAUR board that also said “go back to road running.”  They immediately deleted the comment.  Trail running is suppose to be inclusive.  It’s suppose to be welcoming. For many it is an escape from everything else going on.  I think we as a community need to take a step back and do an evaluation.  Welcome the new, the slow, the curious.  If we want to continue to have space, trails and a future we need new people.

Flying and inner peace

Over the years yoga has been in my life.  At my heaviest (200+ pounds) I did yoga. Granted I hid at the back of the class but I did yoga.  At the very beginning I remember how hard just going through Sun Salutation A was.  I huffed and I puffed.  Holding Downward Facing Dog was nearly impossible.  However, there was this feeling I had after every yoga class that I just couldn’t shake.  It’s magical.

Right before my divorce in 2005 I hit my first Sirsasana or headstand.  It was an early Sunday morning class in Annapolis.  We were given time to practice flying.  When I actually got up into it I squealed and then promptly hit the floor.  I remember it like it was yesterday that is how profound it was.   Balance and flying poses are always a tell.  The more out of emotional balance you are the more challenging (if not impossible) they are. I never hit another one.

Over the last year or so I found an organization called Vetoga.  They are an organization created by a former Marine who wanted to share yoga with the veteran community as a way  to deal with stress, PTSD, and other anxieties.   There is something profound about being in a room of people who regardless of service, age or gender are family even if you’ve never met them before.

IMG_3506Then this past summer during a WOD at CrossFit Park City they had us attempting headstands as a precursor to handstand pushups.  From the CrossFit perspective it’s simple: you use your core and you should be able to pop right up into a headstand.  Now as a practitioner of yoga I know better.  It is not as simple as core strength then pop up.  In order to obtain a headstand you have to have inner peace.  Sure, core strength is part of it, but without the inner peace, even momentarily, you will never fly.  Since 2005, I had tried headstand many times, often met with me slamming to the floor in the most ungraceful like thud.  With all of the mountains and clearing of my mind I had had over the summer I figured why not try a headstand.  This was as far as I got, but hey it was progress over the previous 12 years.  While it is not a true Sirsasana which is suppose to be done on forearms, it was still much closer.

A few days ago at Trident CrossFit I was feeling much less pressure.  My internship was over, the paper was almost complete, and a host of other things in my life had fallen into IMG_4218place.  There are still stressors, but I am mentally at peace with the major decisions I have made.  I decided to give it another try.  What’s the worst that could happen?  Sure, I could fall on my face, but I’ve done that plenty in my lifetime.  Then this happened.  Again, I’m not on my forearms, but I’m up and I held it.  This is the truest sign I can have that the path that I have chosen is the right path.

What path is that?  I have decided to go through the Vetoga teacher training.  I have wanted to go through teacher training for many years, but the time was just never right.  Despite being in grad school, despite the stresses from work, despite every reason in the world why I shouldn’t do this, this just feels like the right time.  I don’t handle change well (I know that this comes as a surprise) so the fact that I made this major decision and I am at peace with it means I am on the right path.

I’m very much looking forward to the learning process.  Most of all, though, I’m looking forward to helping others find their moment to fly.  It truly is glorious.

If you want to help me reach my goal, click here, and donate to my teacher training.

Kings Peak: The summit that wasn’t

For weeks I had been waiting excitedly for WindChime to join me in Utah.  She was coming out to do Kings Peak with me.  Not only is it the highest point in the Uintas, but it’s also the highest point in Summit County AND in Utah a trifecta.  For a geographic point nerd like myself that’s always an incentive.

We headed up there after work on Thursday and stopped at the USFS Ranger Station on our way out and the Ranger said, “Be off the summit no later than 1300.”  Got it.  We thought we had a good plan going in: set alarm at 0400, on trail no later than 0600, summit by 1200, and then back to camp.  Our plan included a mixture of running and hiking.  In my life things rarely go according to plan and this was no exception.

0400 alarm, indeed, went off.  We lay in the tent trying to figure out what we were going to wear as the weather decided to throw us our first hiccup.  It was cold now, we knew it was going to get hot, but when/if the rain moved in we were going to get cold.  Ah, Mother Nature she is such a fickle Queen.

We actually were on the trail by 0545 which was great, except the trail very quickly turned to mud that was as slick as a bar of soap in the shower.  So much for any thoughts of running.   We were pushing a really fast pace considering the distance that we had to cover taking few breaks.

As we went up and over Gunsight Pass we got excited thinking that we were almost there.  Then we dropped and dropped and dropped.  What the heck??  We checked the map twice.  Nope, we were on the right trail.  We crossed a snow patch and started heading up towards Anderson Pass.  The sky was turning an ominous shade.  We still had another 3-3.5 miles to the summit and we were going to start getting into the gnarly climbing.   We looked at each other and both said, “Well, what do you want to do?”

Neither one of us wanted to quit, but collectively we had enough miles (easily >10k) under our belts to recognize the danger.  Not only were we already above treeline, but we were going to be heading up and not a gentle up either.  We calculated that with the 3-3.5 miles left we’d most likely be on the summit by 1230 at the earliest.  That was cutting it a little too close.  Then not only would we have to beeline down the mountain, but we would have to go up and over Gunsight Pass again.  Oof.  With a heavy heart we made the decision to turn around.

As we crossed the snow field again we ran into a teenager and a chaperone who had decided not to make the summit.    The teenager looked rough.  We stopped and very quickly assessed his electrolytes were way out of whack.  WindChime gave him both Nuun and Tailwind in his bladder and I asked the chaperone if he had anything salty to eat.  There wasn’t much more we could do for them except hope that they made it to their campsite at Dollar Lake.

We started to pick our way back up Gunsight Pass when suddenly rocks started raining down from the pass itself.  Standing on top was a whole group of teenage boys who were chucking rocks down.  Every time a rock came careening over the edge Baby Trail Dog wanted to chase it.  “HEY! STOP THROWING ROCKS!!!”  we shouted up.  The other boys pointed at the offending boy, “Yeah, Carson, stop throwing rocks.”  When we crested the pass there was a group of about 10 boys with 4 adults sitting on the pass.  WindChime and I both highly recommended that they not summit.  We relayed what the ranger had said and the distance they have left to go. The adults in the group looked at us with disdain.  I mean, how could it be possible that two girls could actually know what they were talking about.   We shrugged and moved forward.  What they did was up to them.

Further down the valley trail we crossed paths with two guys that we had seen leaving the night before.  They had a wild dog that was not on leash.  We were surprised to see them heading up the valley so late in the day since they had hiked in the night before.  We passed along the same information that we had passed to the group on Gunsight.  The only difference was these guys had 3 additional miles before they even got to Gunsight. They brushed us off.  OK……

Back down the valley we went, through the muck, and over the river.  We debated back and forth.  Was that the right call?  Could we have made it?  Behind us the sky got darker and darker.  We caught up to group of three Rangers also heading for the trailhead.  When we exchanged our story with them and our decision not to summit they looked relieved.  “Good decision,” they said.  Well that answers that.

With approximately 5 miles left to the trailhead we began to hear the thunder.  We picked up our pace.  At least at this point we were semi-covered by trees.  The closer we got to camp the closer the storm got.  We decided to grab what food we could out of the cooler and dove into the tent just as the skies opened up.

Fourteen hours of sleep later we got up and made breakfast.  Just as we were packing up our campsite we saw the father/son duo that we had seen packing in on Thursday night come back to their truck.  We walked over to them.

“Did you summit?” Windchime inquired.

“Yeah, but boy were we glad we made it off the mountain. We thought about you guys as we were coming down.  Did you guys make it up?”

“No, we made it just shy of Anderson pass, but saw the storm and made the call not to go as we saw the storm rolling in.”

“Good choice!  There were some guys up on the summit when the storm rolled in and they got the crap scared out of them.”

She and I exchanged sideways smirks.  Huh, imagine that.

Even without summiting  we logged over 20 miles and we saw some gorgeous back country.  WindChime had two necklaces made one for her and one for me.  Mine has the latitude and her has the longitude of the peak.  While we may not have made it to the summit, we had an amazing time with tons of memories.


Bad asthmatic! Bad! 

Final week of classes! Hooray! However final week of classes means I’m stressed out. I’ve been super good this pollen season trying to not over do it. After almost getting my tush admitted last year this year I’m trying to be super well behaved. Ok, well behaved for me. 

Today I needed a run. Badly. The tree pollen has been off the charts for weeks now. I’ve been feeling like a caged animal. As much as I love my other forms of cross training I missed the dirt and woods. I was getting my allergy shot this morning anyway, so I figured if I was going to run I needed to do it before my shot and not after. 

I knew it was going to be bad when a mile in I felt my chest get tight. Crap. I was doing this run. Two miles in and I finally broke down and took my inhaler. By the time I hit the car I knew I was in trouble. Dammit. It was only 3 miles. Come on lungs get your shit together. 

When I showed up at my allergy appointment I’m always required to do a spirometer test.  That’s where you blow into a tube and it measures how much air your moving. My normal read is 550. That’s a great number. Today I blew a 490. For those that are statistically inclined that’s an 11% decrease in function in “just” 3 miles.  Totally worth it. Happy runner. Bad asthmatic. 


When I run my brain has similarities to a petulant four year old.  If it has new things to look at (roots, rocks, new scenery) it’s distracted and happy.  When it runs the same trails over and over not only does boredom set in begetting whining of “are we there yet, why are we doing this, this sucks, etc” but it also allows me to stay hyper-focused on all of the things that I am trying to escape from, which is counterproductive.

A couple of weeks ago I saw that a local mountain biking group had been working on expanding a trail system in a local park (completely sanctioned) that previously had no trails in it.  Oh shiny!  After beating STATA into submission and working on a paper with those statistics for nearly 12 hours straight on Easter and another 6-8 hours in the last two days my poor brain needed a break.  Charlotte and I headed to the new trails.

The great thing about running new trails is that your brain absolutely cannot focus on anything other than the next 4-6 feet in front of you.  It can’t focus on anything else (finals, papers, projects, internships, you know, life things) and there are some days that that is exactly what you need.   Even Charlotte seemed happy that we were running some place with new smells and new puddles to play in.  I guess baby dogs get bored too.

img_2808We wound up running several miles of trails both within the park bounds and some of the bootleg 4 wheeler trails that follow the high tension lines.  Honestly, I don’t know why they just don’t turn it into green space like they do out West, but that’s a fight for another day.  The best part was, though, there was not a single solitary thought that went through my head other than what was on the ground 4-6 feet in front of me.   Ok, ok, I’ll admit it this was also kind of a problem as by the time we got back to the car I had to take my inhaler (thanks pollen count), but mentally I felt so much better.   Both of our moods had improved remarkably.

I’m interested in exploring this new network of trails to see just how many miles I can now rack up. Shiny!

Weight Loss Update: Maintenance & Muscle

I, as with most women, live by a number on the scale.  My entire life I’ve been trained to focus on the number.  As I’ve made progress down the weight loss journey road Sainted Mary and I have also been monitoring my body fat percentage. Yet, I still focus on the number.  I’m trying to change. Really, I am.

This summer when I was inured and cut off from working out I immediately noticed a huge drop in the scale.  Sainted Mary reminded me that was from my muscles not retaining water from repairing themselves. She was right, the minute I was cleared to start working out again boom up the scale went again.  I know, I know, it’s just water, but I was SO focused on getting to a very specific number.  F&%*^&@

img_20160922_133305When I was out on the #ECSUT course I had a lot of time to think.  What was more important?  Was it the number on the scale?  Or was it the ability to go out and do all of the crazy things that I love to do?  It was out in the mountains of Park City that I realized that I wanted to be the strongest version of myself.  Because, dammit, I like being active with my friends! I like not being the weakest one.  I want to be able to push hard and not break!

When I returned and shared my insights, gained in the mountains, with Sainted Mary and she laughed.  She laughed because she had already been there and was just waiting for me to get there.  “With all of the crazy hiking, running, etc that you love to do you need all the muscle you can get.”  Ah yet another reason why I love Sainted Mary.  Ah the old adage of you can lead a horse to water……smart woman.

We made some changes to my nutritional plan and then we discussed how over the winter I was going to focus on gaining strength in order to make me a better runner.  Then we had to have “the talk”:

“You do realize that as you put muscle on the scale is going to go up, right??”

(sighing) “Yes…..” I begrudgingly acknowledged.

“You also realize that muscle takes up less space than fat does so you will actually be getting smaller, right????”

(sighing and with a twinge of eye rolling) “Yes….”

1411638441200Why was this concept so hard for me to embrace?  Why did she have to keep reminding me of this?  Because, well, numbers are what we women have been trained from birth to go off of.  This is why continuing to work with Sainted Mary is so important.  She reminds me of all of the things that I know, but then I stand on the scale and all hell breaks loose.  This is why we do body fat readings in addition to the number on the scale.  Now instead of focusing on the number on the scale, we are trying to get my body fat numbers down.  I started out in 2015 at 36.4%.  Now I’m at 28.3% and dropping that number a safe clip.  Ok, ok, I’ll admit I still look at the scale.  I do.  I’m trying to change.  I promise.  Change is hard, but change is good.

Trail Monster

It’s not secret I hate this time of year.   Every horrible, rotten, crappy, down right awful img_1428thing that has ever happened in my life has always happened this time of year.  So, yesterday, while everyone else was off having family dinners and putting up Christmas trees baby trail dog and I went out and ran, more like hiked, 10 miles.  Yes, classic avoidance.  Hey don’t knock it until you try it.

I’ve been working with this awesome trainer, “Uncle Lance” who has been amazing.  At our first session he asked me what I wanted out of our training sessions and I told him that I wanted to know that when we were out on the trail together that she would stay with me and not take off.  See, she’s an Afghan mutt and she’s a sight hound.  What does that mean? Means she’s a survivor and why wouldn’t she follow/chase an amazing meal, even though there’s a heated car seat and a seemingly endless supply of doggie treats with me.  Last weekend we worked with Uncle Lance at a local park with her off leash.  We were ready, Uncle Lance said so, and he isn’t the kind of guy to blow smoke up your a$$.

Yesterday, we started our run with her on leash.  She’s really grown to love the run.  Especially the longer runs when it’s just her and I.  Her ears are her tell.  Flipped over, sassy.  Bouncy, happy.  Pinned to her head, she’s picked up the scent of something.  As we proceeded down the trail we got to a really technical rocky section of trail that I knew I was going to have to let her scramble on her own.  For her safety and mine.  As I reached down to unclip her harness from the leash I had to have faith that all of the training we’ve done was going to be enough.

She was amazing!  She scrambled and played.  She was far enough ahead for her to be able to explore some on her own, yet close enough that I was comforted.  She stuck her face into every dirt pile and mud puddle she could find.  She bounced and played and was happy, genuinely happy.  She came when called and didn’t put a single toe out of line.  I was so impressed.  When we got back to the regular trail she was so good I didn’t want to put her back on leash.  She stayed at my side almost in a perfect heel next to my knee as we moved down the trail.  Had a couple of volunteer Rangers not busted us, I would have kept her that way all the way back to the car.  She ignored the other dogs, people, and yes, even the ducks she saw on the trail.  While she’s still not 100% locked on me like HRH is, for her first off leash outing I couldn’t be any more pleased.  I’m really looking forward to our upcoming time in the mountains.  She’s definitely going to be my little trail monster.


Bella’s 1st 5k: We found her incentive

img_1291“Aunt B, I can’t. I just can’t.”  Those words came out of Bella’s mouth for the entire first mile we were running.  My patience was growing thin.  I may not know many things in this world, but I’ve been around this child her entire life.  I was there when she began to walk.  I was there when she ran her first half mile, her first mile, and her first race (the 1k at Over the Bay Bridge Run two years ago).  Today was her first 5k as part of her elementary school’s Run Club.  I knew down to the depth of my toes that this was totally within the scope of her abilities and capabilities.  Listening to her tell herself that she couldn’t do it was more than I could take.  It was breaking my heart.

“Bella, stop saying you can’t.  I know you can.  You are strong.  Don’t let your mind tell you that you can’t.” I chided her.  Desperately trying to find something to get her to focus I said, “Do you see that boy up there, don’t let that boy beat you.”  I said it just loud enough so that the boys heard me and they started picking up their pace.  Ah, male pride and ego even at the age of 8.

“No way Aunt B.  Girls rule and boys drool! Let’s get them!”  she said picking up her feet and her pace.  I chuckled to myself and mentally sent out a plea to the universe that she would hold onto that thought until she was at least 18 or so.   We proceeded to play leap frog img_1294with the boys for the next half mile or so.  They would slow down, we would pass them, then they would speed up and sprint passed us again not wanting a yucky girl to beat them, until they slowed way down again.   Until ultimately we passed them around the two mile mark.  She burst out into a big grin as we blew passed them for what was the final time.

I looked at her and told her, “See, consistency pays off.  Well, that and the rocket boosters you have under your tutu.”  She giggled.

As we made our way down the course she kept trying to turn around to see where they were.  “Stop turning around to see where they are Bella.  Run forward.  If you turn around you could fall down.  If you are afraid that they are going to catch you, run faster.”  I wish I could tell her that was advice for life too.  Instead, I had her focus in on the next sign, the next tree, until finally we saw the finish sign.

img_1301When she saw the finish sign she started to sprint.  “I’m going to beat you,” she gleefully sang.  I sped up.  She sped up.  I sped up a little more.  She kept pace with me.  THAT’S the girl I know.  Competitive, strong, determined.  She crossed the finish with a grin on her face, gas in her tank, and having passed three of the older boys and a couple of the older girls in her run club.  Her final time was just over 41 minutes.

“HEY, you beat me.” she said looking at me as she found where she placed on the print out.

“I guess that means you’ll have to run faster next time.”

#ECSUT: Mother Nature is a bitch

Nearly a year I’ve trained for the North Face Endurance Challenge Series 50k.  Injuries couldn’t stop me.  My asthma couldn’t stop me.  I was GOING to run this race.  Right up until Mother Nature decided to into full bitch mode.  Every time we checked the weather on Friday it changed.  When we attended the pre-race discussion Friday night there was a discussion of the weather.  The race was going to happen.  Period.  All we knew was the there was going to be something falling out of the sky on Saturday morning we weren’t just sure WHAT.

Saturday morning dawned and it was raining with temperatures hovering around freezing.img_0774 If this were any other day I would have done anything else other than run outside.  This was the perfect cocktail for my lungs to be miserable.  Luckily I had packed all of my gear so I could cover my mouth and try to warm the air.  I suited up for battle and we all piled into the car to the start line.  As soon as we got dropped off we found out that there was an hour delay of the start.  Apparently there were blizzard conditions up the mountain.  Oh boy….so we waited.  Then came the second new bomb.

We were NOT running the 50k course. We would be running two loops of the half marathon course.  I was crushed.  Not only because the distance was not actually going to be an ultra, but it was loops.  I hate loops.  Loops crush me mentally.  The pull of the start line is always exceptionally strong for me.  My inner sloth just wants to stop.  “But it’s right there why can’t we stop?” I had to come up with a new game plan on the fly as my previous plan based on elevation profile and training just got toss out of the window.

Now, I completely understand safety first.  We heard of snow drifts up to the thighs of the scout runners.  We also heard news of aid crews being stranded at the top. Throwing runners out on a course where they could die would be bad for business.   However, I had a serious beef with Mother Nature.  Seriously, I mean WHY??? Last weekend it was sunny and 70.  Next week, sunny and 70. GAH!!!!

When we finally left at 8 it was STILL pouring and cold.  I kept my face covered in an attempt to warm the air.  The first 6 miles of the half marathon course were straight up hill.  Nothing like a good air and soul sucking climb right off the bat.  Even better we were sharing the course with the 50 milers so around 3 miles in the elite runners came blasting past us.

img_0800Grind, grind, grind up the hill.  The trail was definitely wet, sloppy, and slippery, but still  gorgeous.  The leaves on the trees were amazing colors.  Every once in a while we’d get an amazing view. I’d use the “on your left” from on of the fast 50 milers or 50k folks passing me as an excuse to look around.  I spent most of the race looking at the ground trying not to slip and fall on my face.

My first lap I did really well following the nutrition plan that Sainted Mary and I had laid out.  I used the aid stations to fill my water bladder.  As I finished my first lap and headed back around for another 6 miles of grind I zoned out.  Like REALLY zoned out.  I had to.  The pull of the finish line and being done was strong.  I had to block it out.

As Windchime blew past me all of a sudden there were flashing warning signs on my 8925342-standardproverbial dashboard.  We had been keeping pace with each other why was she blowing past me? I dug under the 3 layers of clothes that I had on to get to Coconut.  Holy f*%& stick I hadn’t eaten in over 2 hours.  It was at that moment I realized the wheels had not only come off the bus it was skidding down the road on its undercarriage on fire.  Sigh.  I knew that trying to recover from a deficit was going to be exceptionally hard.  Crap.  My feet were still moving forward this was good.  I reached in for a snack of banana chips and Justin’s honey peanut butter (on of my favorite go to snacks) and made the goal of hitting the next aid station.

At the aid station I sucked back some broth to help warm me up and scanned the table for something that I could eat.  In my calorie deficit those pb&j sandwiches looked amazing.  I was with it enough to know that was a bad idea.  Unless of course I wanted to be on the side of the trail puking my guts out.  I grabbed a handful of frozen skittles and kept marching setting up my new goal; next aid station.

This continued on until I hit the final aid station.  When I rolled in my fingers were so swollen I couldn’t slide my hydration bladder open. The volunteers were so sweet and did it for me.  I sucked back more broth, some potato chips and grabbed another handful of frozen skittles.  This was the last of it and it was all down hill.  I picked up from my march to a “run”, ok it was more of a quick shuffle, but it was faster than my march.  My lungs were on fire.  I was barely breathing.  The cold air and being out in it was starting to take its toll on me.  I just had to finish.  I WOULD finish.

The last .2 miles of the course is all switchbacks, but I could see the finish.  There was even a trail that went straight down the hill.  My inner monologue slapped my inner sloths face.  NO! Do the course as marked.  NO cheating.  My inner sloth was not pleased.

img_0804I honestly don’t remember the finish. My lungs were on fire so bad I was barely breathing. All I remember was crossing, being in tears and repeating to my friends, “my lungs hurt”.  That’s it.  That’s what I remember. Next thing I know I’m at the condo, stripped, and in the shower.   As you can see from the picture (that I don’t remember taking) I’m not exactly what you would call in good shape. The lack of oxygen I’m sure had nothing to do with that (sarcasm).

Results came out and the total distance run was 26.5 miles.  Technically an ultra.  I’ll take it. Granted it wasn’t the 50k I trained for, but perhaps the Universe threw me a bone.  Wet sub-40F temperatures at elevation.  Perhaps the Universe knew that if we had done the 50k course and pushed the extra 6 miles something bad would have happened.  Who knows.  All I know is that Mother Nature threw just about everything but the kitchen sink at me and I survived.  Take that Mother Nature.  Suck it.  (Ha, an asthma joke!)