Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Who Has Your Back

 Facing the ocean with 25 Eagles at my back I have never felt safer doing something that scared me so badly.  I had spent most of my life avoiding water deeper than hip deep.  
As I child reoccurring dreams of death by drowning interrupted my sleep.  

As an adult, after graduating high school, I taught myself to swim in the shallow end of a pool.
So fast forward to Team RWB Southeast Regional Triathlon and Leadership Camp in Daytona Beach, FL.
I stood on the beach listening to our coach, Rob Wallace
teaching us how to enter open water, specifically ocean.  A storm a few days out was creating larger than normal waves, wind, serf.
Coach Wallace told us that had this been an actual triathlon most race directors would call off the swim portion because of the waves.
To get under the waves instead of fighting them we were instructed to "porpoise dive" under the wave right before it hit.  So this porpoise diving was the only thing I planned on practicing.  Hence I would have this brave new experience without getting too far out into the deep, strong waves.
Teams of five would enter the ocean, high step till the water was thigh deep then start diving under the waves.  Coach would advise us on shore using the group ahead as an example on how to manage the challenges.
My turn, oh crap!  I'm not even interested in triathlon (I love hanging around passionate people).  This is part of my summer of living bravely.
The waves insistently pushed toward shore as the sand underneath our feet slid away urging us out to sea.
3, 2, 1 and go!
High stepping and diving under waves is hard work! for body and will.
As I practiced these new skills I knew I could do it.  Well, I knew I was safe.  All I had to do was look behind me at who had my back.
It is an odd feeling being so scared and feeling so safe at the same time.  The mood allowed for a whole hearted effort.

I hope others can experience this secure foundation in which to launch themselves into something way outside their comfort zones.
Why secure?
Elite lifeguard, coach, lifeguard trainer, half a dozen elite to very good swimmers,

The atmosphere of Team RWB is one that has to be experienced.  The lack of experience and skill is a non-issue, Team RWB leaders teach, lead, love.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Run with The Horses Marathon - August 20, 2016 - Green River Wyoming

What do you do when a dear friend and mentor asks you on a road trip?  Why you go!
I was raised in WY, going to run a marathon there, with no time limit meant I could actually get WY
checked without another DNF.

Run with the Horses Marathon, in Green River, WY  is a very small marathon, maybe 35 participants.  
Road Trip!  Chrissy & me
The day before race day we played our hand at being tourists and seeing the sights.  There is always something to see even in small town WY.

Sight Seeing Before The Race The Next Day
This is the the "rock" on which the petroglyphs are carved.

Google "Petrroglyphs near Rock Springs WY" to find out how to get to this place

Its hard to imagine how the natives put these hand prints in the rock. 

Of course we had to climb to the top! 

There are so many views of the carvings.  Unfortunately some modern day yahoos decided to leave their mark too.

This is a view from on top of the big "rock". 

Race Morning, you can see the rock formations in the background. 
 It was a little chilly race morning, probably in the 40's if I remember right.  It didn't last long.  When the sun came out we had temperatures in the 70's all day.  These are the windswept high plains desserts of WY.  We were fortunate that we didn't have much wind that day.  The breeze did pick up when I was at about mile 16 or so.  It wasn't too terribly bad though.

The race starts at 6100 ft elevation and climbs to 7600 ft elevation.  It is a very good hill workout!

Knowing it was mostly exposed, no shade, so wearing a long sleeved shirt was in order.  It worked out well.

The first 5 miles are mostly all uphill.  Two miles pavement than gravel roads.

The course goes through wild horse country.  I saw three.

This little race really has it going on.  They had a water stop every two miles, a bit of food too. 

Turn around for the marathon on this out and back course.

In essence we ran from Green River to Rock Springs above the freeway on county dirt roads.  This is Rock Springs, WY

What goes up does come down.
 There were long stretches of road where no other runner was in sight.  Like I said this is a very small marathon.

More downhill for the last 5 miles.

Second in my age group!  woohoo!  

The race recommended adding an hour to your average marathon time to get your expected race time.  My best marathon, last December, was 5:20.  I finished this in 6:29, that is right on target.  I'm happy with that.  

The next day it was back to being a tourist.  We thought a ghost town would be kind of cool.  The local ghost town isn't an old west type, it is a mining town.
We wanted to check out these formations first before we took off for our daily adventure.

These rock formations were near the hotel in which we stayed.

I love the formations and the blue, blue sky!

Superior WY 

Union Hall back in the days of coal mining in Superior, WY
Chrissy makes a friend!

Chrissy at the abandoned mine shaft

Superior Wy abandoned coal mine

Todd & Norma Clark - lifelong friends 

 Would I recommend this race to a friend?  You bet I would!  If someone wants to get Wyoming checked off their last this would be the one to do it.
Generous time to finish a hard race.  Well organized.  Well marked.  Lots of aid.  Very friendly volunteers.  Yes, I recommend this race.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

It Was A Very Long Night!

What do you do when the plan is 40 miles?
Well, the main group met at 3 AM to be running by 4:30 AM or close to that time.
Me, that would leave me out there when it is way to hot during the day.
My plan was to start at night.

Park at red X, Aid at black Xs
I haven't spent any time with Missy Ezel.  I just knew her by site.  So we both took a risk, because 40 miles is a lot of hours, what if either one of us was crazy crazy instead of just training for 100 crazy?  She is a faster runner than am I.  She gets stronger as the miles go on.  I'm grateful that she wanted 40 miles without concern for pace.

We met at the gas station at William's Junction at about 9:30 PM.
Missy had placed out one cooler with aid, and I the other so when we got to E-Tower we were ready to rock and roll.

This time of year, anything that looks like a trail is grown up with weeds.  Grown up with weeds means BUGS!!!  Chiggers and ticks are the demons from hell placed there to make every runner second guess their course.  We decided instead of running it as a figure 8 x 2 we would do the 212 route, both directions first, to get the buggy, weedy part of it over with.
I dabble in DoTerra Essential Oils.  I mixed a brew to help prevent the bit-ems from getting me.
I applied this to all the openings, ankles, above knees, below knees, I also wore calf sleeves.
The first loop we did the normal routine, run the downhills and the flats, hike the uphills.
The second loop we hardly run a step, kind of a mid-run funk.
Oh we were glad to get the weed wading over with!  

By the time we got to about mile 4 of the 3rd loop, the sky was starting to get light.  Seeing the sky wake up, the sun come up, is a lift to the spirits.

Lake Winona Overlook

We were making okay time.  We were spending time messing with our feet between laps.  This training is about finding out what works.  So switching shoes, switching socks, keep moving.
I'm dealing with a new problem.  Heel blisters.  I prepped my feet by putting blister pads under bandages on my heels.  Well... another new problem, sensitivity to the adhesive on the bandages.  UGH!

Karen Hayes had given me some Hiker's Wool before the Full Moon 50K.  It's lamb's wool that has been kind of spun together.  You put it between your toes and it helps prevent blisters.  I placed it wrong for the Full Moon so there wasn't much improvement.  Since then I have been experimenting.  I break off a bit, place it over the top/front of my toes, very carefully, not to displace it, put on my Injinji toe socks.  So far this has worked very well!  Since the 40 mile run last weekend, I have been putting a bit of the lamb's wool around my heel along with the toes.  So far, my runs this week, no heel problems.  Last night I decided to go one step farther.  I put the wool under my bra strap.  Wow, what relief not to be eaten alive by my bra!

Back to the run.  
Loop four was in the daylight.  We were so grateful for a cloudy sky!  It would have gotten hot fast without that cloud cover.  We decided that the hardest direction was whatever direction you were running at the time!  This last loop was uneventful.  Thank goodness.  We had the opportunity to practice "brain training" as in not complaining, working on keeping our minds on positive things (no, I'm positive this run sucks isn't what I mean).

I'm so glad for the opportunity to spend so many hours with Missy.  She is amazing.  She had blisters, chiggers, ticks, icks, and Missy doesn't complain!  She states what is, but there is no complaint in that.  Wow!  Missy also gets stronger as the day and the miles go on.  What a warrior.  This will be her first 100 milers.  Baring all the millions of things that one doesn't have control over, she has this!  Yes it will suck, but she has the strength, the power and the mindset to get it done!

Back to the bugs....

Seed ticks could care less about essential oils! No chiggers though. 

When we removed our socks it looked like our feet were covered in mud.  We were just covered in seed ticks!  Seed ticks are like honey badgers, they don't care.  So it is back to the drawing board to figure out how to repel ticks.  I planned on no more weed wading between now and the Traveller, but I need more trips around the first 17 miles of the course.  Nine miles are on the Ouachita Trail so it will be weed wading.  Again UGH!

Barely fast enough, not fast enough, kind of stressing this

Recovery ice bath, wearing pajamas and socks
I'm on track with miles over this training period.  I've ramped up my core workouts.

Just keep on keeping on!

Thank you Missy for a fabulous time grinding out 40 miles!
Thank you God for an overcast sky and manageable heat.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Sufferfest from Hell - Full Moon 50K

Sometimes the car makes the quietest office.  No dogs, no horses, no cell phone signal, no interruptions, just work getting done.
I decided to leave early for the Full Moon 50K in order to take advantage of a good parking spot and a quiet "office".
By the time I was in Cabot, outward bound, I remembered the forgotten head lamp, ugh!  We needed to replace one so no big deal.  Picking one up on the way is okay, I have plenty of time.  
After sitting in the car for an hour getting some office work done, I remembered what other important item that was forgotten, my trail shoes!  This is a big OH NO!
I had on my feet 4 year old Altra Intuition road shoes.  There isn't much sole between the foot and the road on that pair of shoes.  No reason to panic.  A girl with a pocket knife can do almost anything right?!
With materials gathered round, construction of insoles was underway.  A gallon plastic water bottle would be cut to make rock plates, some cardboard for more padding on the insole.  Chrissy Ferguson saw me messing with my feet and offered me a pair of her extra commercially manufactured insoles, what a lifesaver that turned out to be!  That is what trail runners do, save each other from their stupid!
Karen Hays suggested, and then shared some lamb's wool to put between my toes to help prevent blisters.

This is a 50K with no drop bags, etc.  I tend to get worried, anxious and over-pack.  This trip was no different.  Worried, anxious and over-packed was how I started this race.  Attached to my Ultimate Direction hydration pack was an extra little carry case for a blister kit, extra fuel, extra socks, etc.
This added weight turned out to be a problem later on.

Eddy Light, my training partner, and I decided to just see how it would play out.  We figured a pace of 17:25 was needed to finish in 9 hours.  Eddy had been training like a beast and I have been eating clean so we really didn't know what to expect.

We made a dumb ass mistake, we went out too fast.  We talked about it as we were laying down 15 minute miles knowing we should slow down.  Eddy had tapered and I had been eating clean, as mentioned, maybe we could do this at this pace.  Not!

By the time we reached the 15K turn around Eddy had enough fun for his money,  He told me he was turning around to do the 25K.  Oh I wanted to join him so bad!  It didn't take long before I really wished to have turned back.  The chatter in my head was that I could turn around now and still get a finish for the 25K.  I said that to myself at miles 10, 11, 12....

It took some mighty doing to keep going.  Upon reaching the turn around I had decided to be done.  I walked into that aid station crying, sweating and just hating life.  Rich Brown talked me off the ledge getting my head and heart in a better place.  He relieved me of the extra pack full of the extra weight I didn't need to be carrying as well.

Tums, ginger ale, Mt Dew and orange wedges became the fuel for body and soul.  I couldn't wait to get to the next aid station so I could get Tums, ginger ale, Mt Dew and orange wedges, in that order.

I made it to the 25K turn around, inbound, in time, no cut-off this year.  You can read what happened last year here.

Before reaching the last aid station I saw light heading my direction.  It had to be Jeff Beason, an aid station volunteer and fellow Team RWB member, heading this way to find the stragglers, me.  It is so great to know someone is waiting, looking for you, going out to find you.  Feeling the love is part of the reason to be out there.

I did not make the 9 hour limit.  It took 9 hours 16 minutes to finish that thing.   I crossed the finish line crying like a baby.  This wasn't harder than the Traveller 2015, but it sure was more emotional.  Something like this leaves one full of doubts and fears.  I have to constantly remind myself this is July, I'm more fit, stronger, than I was last year at this time.

I have to work harder.  I have to cross-train consistently.  I can be so much stronger by October 1.

What is needed:

Consistent meditation
Consistent cross-training
More heat training

The training is mine to do.  The fellow travelers are there to help me through.

Hill Repeats

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Night Run!

This is Our Weekend, This is My Life - Team Red, White & Blue

Team RWB

Our regional director visit, Glad you got to meet so many Eagles Garrett! 

Add caption

People from our running group in Searcy!  woohoo! 

Firecracker 5K July 4, 2016

These guys fire me up!  A night spent breaking bread and talking about the things that matter most is a good way to recharge.

Eagle Charge Conway AR July 3, 2016 - thank you Jackie, Brent, Sandy!  you guys rock!

Annette IS running in AR.  What a great ambassador and friend! 

November 2012 while listening to Trail Runner Nation Podcast I heard about a "new" organization whose purpose is to Enrich veterans' lives by reconnecting them to their communities through physical fitness and social activities.  What caught my attention about Team RWB was the sleeves rolled up, get in there and actually work, instead of just talking about it attitude and actions.
We, the Central Arkansas leadership team, have been working hard and long to get a program that looked and felt like it was making a difference.  It is not a place we can say, "we are there", we will never "be there", but one relationship at a time we are making a difference.  People, one person at a time, are making connections, relationships and getting healthier in the process.