Monday, September 10, 2012

Wasatch 100 Race report---(sort of)

Pop……and it was over.

Before I put this report together I had the following thoughts:
  • Should I even do one?
  • This will be the shortest report ever!
  • Who cares?
  • Save the boo-hoo story.

Well, I will take this time for me. Maybe throwing this out into the universe will help with the coping. Maybe it will help me get it out of my system. Maybe one day I can revisit it and laugh. Well, no matter what the outcome, I will do this one for myself.

Wasatch 100 is my favorite race. It is the toughest race I have ever done and I love it. This year was to be a year of great achievement. I thought I had a great game plan coming into 2012. Lined up a lot of great races, fantastic training runs, started Pilates and was very consistent with everything. This was my year! I was ready from Day 1. I am fortunate to have the best running partners on the planet- The HUMR’s.  Running with this group of people makes it so much fun and I look forward to getting out on the trails. They all played a major role this year- got me out the door, pushed me to go farther, pushed me to go faster, kept me consistent and most importantly- made it enjoyable. Thanks you all!
Leading up to the race I was sure I would finish (I was 2 for 2 heading in) and my main focus was under 28 hours. I did sub 30 last year so with the year I have had I knew it was more than possible. When I arrived at the start I was a little nervous but I have been here before. This was my superbowl, my big dance, my 2012 rolled into one race. I shared “good lucks” and “see you at finish” comments before the game was on. My plan was simple enough- get out quicker and not get stuck on the long climb. Well, I did just that. I felt great and hit Fernwood right where I wanted to be. Throughout the climb to the top and I was enjoying it. I was looking forward to different sections on the course and the AS and looking forward to seeing all the familiar faces throughout this journey. When I was up above chinscraper I was still very excited. I was ahead of where I thought I would be time wise and still felt good. I stopped at the spring and filled my bottles to ensure I would take enough in before I hit Francis Peak. I knew it would be hot and I wanted to stay ahead a bit on hydration. I holstered my bottles and was off. About a ¼ mile from the spring while enjoying some beautiful single track I felt a POP. It kinda felt like someone shot me. I immediately shot straight up and fell to the ground. The 2 runners right behind tried to avoid me but no luck on the small trail- the fell right over my legs. We all apologized for the pile up and they politely asked if I was okay. I responded- “oh ya- sorry about that.” Inside I knew I wasn’t. I got up- dusted off, wiped the blood from my knee and shin and started to assess the damage. What the hell just happened- I thought.  I walked a few steps and my right hamstring felt like it was about to cramp. I was hoping it was just a tight hamstring and that I could work it out in a mile or 2. I do believe part of me was in denial. In the back of my mind I knew I was in trouble. I had 88 more miles to go. I kept thinking- if I make it to Big Mountain and see my friends and family maybe I can rally.
The service road to Francis Peak is very runnable and I was hoping to get there and coast in. At Grobbens Corner I filled my bottles and tried to get down the road. Fellow HUMR Jim Skaggs caught me here and we discussed what was going on. He said- “maybe it’s just tight and it will loosen up”, that sounded good to me and I was hoping for the same thing so 2 votes was a good thing. Nothing he could do here to help and I watched him take off down the road.
I made in to FP and saw Rick Robinson there with my drop bag. He saw something was wrong and we talked briefly about it. He offered to drive over to Bountiful B if I wanted to continue to see if it would indeed loosen up. Why not? I had nothing to lose. My calendar was free so I wasn’t going to be wasting my time. I left FP and did everything I could to get moving again. A few miles down the road it became even more apparent something was wrong when I had a hard time getting y right foot off the ground and over rocks and trees. I was tripping everywhere. I tried to enjoy this section because I knew I was done. Runners were passing me asking if I was okay and I just let them know I was fine and wished then luck on their way. When I finally hit the Bountiful AS I was devastated. I tried to keep my emotions in check because there were so many people around. I signed the DNF paper and it was over- just like that.
On the drive down with Rick, we shared some good stories. It helped take my mind off what just happened but by the time I got home it really hit me. I was absolutely crushed. It felt like a dream. This wasn’t really happening.  Dropping out 24miles into a 100 mile race- are you serious! What about my pacers? They take time off work and I stood them up- nice……
The past few days have been pretty dark. I turned off my phone and just tried to process it all. I was so disappointed. I hurt- not my leg but my insides. How do I explain this to my kids? They think their dad is super human. They were looking so forward to running on the grass across the finish line at the Homestead. That was their time………
The road to recovery has begun- physically, mentally and emotionally. I really have no idea how this will turn out and when. I don’t deal well with failure. The disappointed I feel still after 3 days is a little overwhelming. Yes, I know part of me is most likely having a pity party but this is tough. I was ready this year. I was ready big time. I prepared all year and had some great visions of what the day would be like. I never once thought I wouldn’t finish. I was not prepared for this…….

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wasatch 100 Pre-Race thoughts

2011 Finish with the girls

Its here- Wasatch 100 2012. The lottery took place on February 4th- which seems like such a long time ago. I remember being out on a training run and hoping for the best. I have run Wasatch twice and was eager to give it another go. After I saw my name that night I remember the feeling of excitement and a bit of anxiety as well. I had 7 months of training and racing ahead to prepare which I knew if I stayed injury free would be enough. I began to pick up other races to help build for Wasatch and set me in a better mind set. It looked like this:
February- Moab Red Hot 55k
March – Buffalo Run 50
April- Grand Canyon R2R2R
May- Zion 100, HUMR Beer Mile and Timp Trail Marathon
June- San Juan Solstice 50
July- SpeedGoat 50k
August- El Vaquero Loco 50k

So I knew heading into Wasatch I would have some good races and plenty of training runs. Last year I only raced a couple times and didn’t run in July before running hard for 3 weeks in August just in time to start my taper.  This year is different, other than a few little nagging aches I have run much better, started doing Pilates and being much more consistent on my training.
So, with all that above I should be more than ready right? Well, I hope so. 100 miles is still a long journey and we all know anything can happen. There are so many variables that enter the equation- some you can control, some you can’t and some you should.  After last year’s crazy final 14 miles and a sub 30 finish I am not sure if that set me up with confidence or more pressure. I always want to become better and whatever I do and this year has seen 4 PR’s in my racing calendar already. Can I go under 29:46.30 or was my finish just dumb luck? If I finish over 29:46.30 is it a set back? These are only a few thoughts that are going through my mind.
 I am fortunate to have a STRONG group of pacers to help me cover the last half of the race. I am fortunate to have been able to train with an amazing group of people (without them I would be not be as consistent). I am fortunate to be running relatively injury free (far as ultra standards go). I am fortunate to have great support from friends and family as well. But what about my mindset? I feel like I have always been a strong minded, gut it out, git er dun type of person but the last couple weeks I have had a hard time with that mental edge. That is until I read a great blog post from a friend and fellow HUMR- Lindsay Lauck. I could try and paraphrase what it says or try and sum it up real quick but I am afraid it wouldn’t do it justice. This post really hit me- it spoke to me if you will. It was something I needed not just to hear but read so I could go over it and over it again. I pasted it below (I hope Lindsay doesn’t mind):

I ran on new trails this week, pushed myself up hills, climbed mountains and - most significantly - enjoyed it!  Ryan said something to me when we were running at Snow Basin this week.  He was coaching me along, proud of my consistency this week, and helping me stay focused and keep up the pace (probably because the sun was setting, and we were both hungry).  He said, "Most importantly, remember to Be Here Now."  I think I said something smart-assed to him, like "I am here now".  I don't remember. But, he had a point.

I think I am ready to stop comparing myself to others.  Or, to the version of myself I wish I was.  That's not to say I'm not focused on improving and getting better.  I'm about to run the biggest race I have run yet -50 miles.  That's nothing to shake a stick at.  But if you had asked me how I felt about it two months ago, I would have been positive that failing at this race would mean the end to my running career.  I've said it a few times this year, "I need to find another sport."  I just felt inadequate compared to others.  I'm not fast enough.  I'm bad at this. I walk the hills.  I take breaks.  I like rest days.  Beer is delicious.  I don't look as cute in these shorts as some of my running friends.

So, what?

 I like running! I enjoy this!  Actually, my favorite way to see anything is on foot.  I love summiting mountains.  I saw a goat the other day.  Deer!  Moose! I get a rush out of running downhill fast.  I love being outdoors.  I'm going to continue pushing myself.  I will get stronger, better, faster.  I know it takes work, and I am willing to put in the time.  40 mile weeks will become the norm for me, and I will put in longer ones.

But, I am also going to enjoy them.  I'm going to have a good time at races, even at the back of the pack. One day, I will be in the middle of the pack.  I'm going to run new races, and run farther in the future ones. But I will keep in mind that training, running, racing is enjoyable to me. Even at this level.  Even if it isn't as good as other people's levels.

And, I still think beer is delicious

Not much else needs to be said on my part. Pretty much knocks it out of the park. I will always set goals for running and races but maybe the order of my goals will change- #1- Be here now- enjoy it. I truly believe without #1, no matter how well you do, it will not be as fulfilling.
A lot goes into “ultra” running but if you are not present, why do it. If you are not in that moment and not enjoying what you do- is it really worth it?
I want to wish all my friends Good Luck on their journey this week. I hope to share a few beers with you all at the finish. It should be a great day + in the Wasatch Mountains. Thanks to everyone for their support and kinds words. You can follow the race by going to – I will be wearing bib #146.
2012- My goal is 27:30- can I shave 2 more hours? Who knows….I will let you know Saturday.
What I do know is that in a few short days I will “Be Here Now”. And there is no place I would rather be……..
2011- Trying to believe it.