Saturday, March 17, 2018

Pistol Ultra

My beautiful friend Jenna gave me a ride to the airport. She handed me some luck items, a jade owl and some fairy dust in a tiny bottle. The adventure was about to begin. Months and months of planning was about to unfold.

For my run, I tucked my gifts in the back pocket of my compression shorts. I wore these the whole time on my person. 

view from the plane....Ice capped mountains. 

I get the chance to see my running buddy and friend again....Two years ago we met and helped each other finish the Marine Corps Marathon. Very emotional meeting for both of us. 

Paid extra to have a special workshop session with Catra Corbett....130+ hundred milers and two 200's, what an inspiration. She did make running a 200 miler much easier than a 100..... oh Ms. Corbett, what have you started?

The RD's were simply amazing. Gail is going over general rules and regulations with lots of humor. 

They have an Athena/Clydesdale category. I chose to try.....have not heard yet about which female won for the Athena category. 

My rental car, a brad-spanking-new 2018 Nissan Versa hatchback. They called it an economy car, same brand as my own car. I guess I own an economy car. 

The weather said rain.....but it was mostly warm and just so welcoming. Back home it was 35 degrees the whole time, so I was soaking in all the heat. 

This was posted on the Pistol running group online and I thought it was perfect description of what its weather reports looked like days coming to the event. 

Morning of race day was cloudy and warm....lots of anxious runners getting ready. 

I did something I often do not do; I bought gear for a race I have not yet finished. I normally consider that bad luck, but spending all this extra money on spirit gear did help me finish. 

Went back to the hotel after seeing the 100 milers off and set up my clothes for the day....
                                           I also packed my suitcase with gear to keep in my car. The race route passes by the parking lot so we are allowed to help ourselves to our gear as needed whenever we pass it provided we continue from where we left off. 

                                          Back home the cherry blossoms have not yet blossomed, but here in Tennessee they were at their peak. 


I stayed at the Mainstay Hotel for 3 nights (technically 2) and man was that room comfy....


Whenever you visit anywhere new you always notice differences and similarities from where you are to where you live. I did notice a lot more people have these types of cars. In Northern Virginia we see a lot more SUV's. 

As a mom who worked full time and has never been away from her kids before this was super nice. Not like I don't love my kids, but one forgets how nice it feels to JUST make decisions for you. Took a little to get used to and not feel guilty....but once it sank in I was livin' it up. 

Ready to tackle my first 50 miler....


The race was delayed 15 minutes due to rain and lightning.....what I did not know was that there was another rain cloud to left of this one which hit us while on the course.  
The race began at 8:15pm, my goal was finishing at 11:15am. I finished at 1:25pm-ish....2 hours later than anticipated. Mostly because I did not anticipate needing to change every 10 miles. Once I stopped to change my soaking wet top, another time I stopped to pick up gloves and a hat for it got to be freezing cold during the night. Third time I stopped to change my shoes and the fourth to pop two blisters and wrap my feet...last, the last loop was pure pain running on blistered feet so I had slowed down below my desired pace. Nevertheless, I am so very happy to have finished below the cutoff. Physically I was ready to throw in the towel at loop #3....the fact that I made two more loops after that, despite the sleepiness and the pain is a miracle. In long distance races like this it always comes down to mind over matter. Your mind can do anything. I knew I would finish because I felt the presence of a loved one I lost many years ago along the course. During loop 3 when things were the toughest, the street maps kept flickering as I passed them by. I lost a very dear friend 11 years ago we had always said if one of us goes first we'd let the other know we were there through making lights flicker. The entire 3rd loop the lights on the street lamps flickered as I passed them by. I was definitely not alone. 

                                     This is me before I passed out and could not text anyone for hours.....


Met John for dinner and had a great time going over every detail of the race with him. This was so special. It's rare that anyone wants to actually hear about running, so to have the undivided attention of a friend who also is a runner was super special to me. 

I am going to miss the view of the mountains.....who knows, maybe I will be back to try a longer distance. 


Another cool thing I noticed about Tennessee is the proliferation of wooden rocking chairs....they are everywhere....even in the airport pictured below. 

Goodbye Tennessee..... until next time....

Back to reality! Went to my daughter's school to pick her up...they are putting on a play....Beauty and The Beast!!! I missed my little family so much....

Monday, February 26, 2018

20 miler from 12am-5am, Oh, and on a work night

           I completed 20 miles before 5:30am today.... on a work night, no less. Yup, that is what you do if you are a full-time working mom and are attempting to train for a 50-miler, but don't want to miss out on time with kids and hubby on the weekend. I did rest a lot this weekend in anticipation of the little sleep I would get due to this long run, and it's Monday and I have slept a total of zero hours and I am so far feeling okay, thanks to coffee. I don't think I could do an 8 miler tonight, as originally planned, but I will certainly do an 8 tomorrow, maybe even tomorrow morning, to simulate running on "tired legs". I was proud to have very little chafing this time. I got waterproof KT tape, which costs a mint, and had my hubby help me tape up my back bra line, it was easy for him to find where to place the tape for only a week ago I go bad chafing there and it was just scabbing over. Next week, I will attempt a 30-miler and no mater how that goes I will walk away feeling prepared having run a respectable peak distance for my race. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

My first 50.....Itinerary

This is so exciting.....I cannot wait ...3 more weeks....

20 miles today.....8 the next day
two 3 milers during the week
Then a 30 miler, then taper for 2 weeks....
Last longish run will be maybe an 8 the weekend before. 



Take plane to Knoxville

Airport in Tennessee
Car rental

Try to catch Catra Corbett's keynote
Alcoa High School
Packet pick up

Alcoa High School,

Mandatory pre-race meeting with Catra
Alcoa High School,

Pre-race Pasta Dinner
Alcoa High School,

 Alcoa, TN,


Race Start

Estimated finishing time

Race closes for all

Hotel check-out

3pm or before
Car drop-off

Plane back home
DC airport

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Becoming a renaissance woman

               They call Maya Angelou a renaissance woman. She lived with such joy that anyone in her presence got to feel her joy. I want to be that, not for the sake of others, although that would not be a bad bonus. But I want to exude that presence. The only way to reach those heights, as Dr. Angelou did is to become so self-aware, so fearless that every moment is filled with love, presence and a wish to give. 

           I feel like I am ever-so-slowly becoming a renaissance woman. I have noticed that the more beauty, books, poetry, and wisdom I soak in from the outside world the more I become seated in my own self, and like who I find in my place. I am aware of these changes when I read my early writings about faking confidence  (until you make it), at the gym, for example. But now the confidence is just part of me as are my eyes, or my arms, or my legs. 

             Self-confidence, or lack-there of is no longer something I need to be aware of. I know this because not long ago I would always have a mental list of things about me I did not like so much and when talking to anyone. I did not like my forehead, or I felt my face looked less attractive from a certain view. I would always be aware of these shortcomings and secretly held them at the center of each interaction, overshadowing the interaction. These mental musings are not there anymore, ever, and those changes allow me to be more present, more clear and overall more joyful in each moment. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Beautiful Life----

                         My physical therapist was very interested in my running and asked several questions not usual for doctors, but he was very friendly so I obliged. The two questions I remember were, "Do you get obsessed with things a lot?" and "Do you kids have the same level of energy as you do?". Oh, and I just remember one more, "What does your husband think of all your running." Each question was answered clearly, but each question revealed more about him than me. The more I get into my world of running the more I forget how much a visual disconnect my presentation must be to a casual observer. Here I am, a middle-aged woman with some extra weight on her claiming she ran for 8 hours, while injured with an upper back injury no less. I have long ago dropped the wonderings of whether or not I am believed so it took a bit to fully grasp why all the questions. I answered each question with a smile and quiet joy. 

               Today I covered 16 miles. I have decided to do another 16 miles tomorrow night in order to do a back-to-back run. I felt very stiff before the run, warmed up by mile 3 and at mile 13 I was so excited to almost be done that I ran faster than the first 12 miles. Next week I will try two 20's in a row and one more weeks of that and I will be ready for this least mentally I will be ready. 

                I heard an Oprah interview with Amy Purdy and my life changed. A few takeaways from the interview that will stay with me forever. When she clinically died the Spirit told her to not be afraid and that it will all make sense in the end. I have been through a lot in my life and these two messages make me fear future tribulations less, but also make me think that all I've been through is part of the bigger picture. A lot of learning lately it seems. I have also been reading Maya Angelou's last published book, Mom & Me and Mom. As the author has shown in her story, LOVE is the most powerful energy we have. Love can make anything possible; all one has to do is read her life story to know just how powerful and life-changing LOVE has been in her life. 


                  Right now I am listening to an library-borrowed audiobook of Tom Sawyer. Both children fully enjoying the story and it tickles me to see them chuckle loudly at parts of the story. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

30 miles baby!!!

I did it.....Just another proof that maybe, just maybe I will finish this 50 miler in March. Most of my training now is keeping my mental game tight. The image above is of me getting home from the gym at 4:30am after doing my 30. I have 18 hours to finish the race and for the 30 I averaged 3.75 miles an hour, which means my race time could be anywhere between 13.3 hours to 14.6 hours, judging from my time run. This morning I was a bit sore, I took some Advil and headed off to work.