Leadville 100 Trail Race

It has been awhile since I blogged.  Actually, it has been since July 2012, right about the time I completed my first ultra trail race, Leadville’s Silver Rush 50. 

Running the Silver Rush 50

Running the Silver Rush 50

It was epic – a long, long time on the trail, at just about perfect temperatures, fabulous co-participants, an even more fabulous set of self-proclaimed athletic supporters, what seemed to be an unending supply of energy, if not speed, and no nasty thunderstorms until the very end (and at that point I didn’t really care about anything, except finishing – as long as I wasn’t struck by lightning, I was getting over that finish line, regardless of what the sky was throwing at me). 

Well, now I’m in for an even more epic adventure, and this one is going to be twice as long – I registered for Leadville’s 100 mile trail race in August of this new 2013 year.  Some say it’s easier (wider forest roads instead of steeper, more technical singletracks), some say harder (it is, after all, twice as long).  I will be running and/or stumbling for more than 24 hours, running at night, running on full, running on empty, running with pacers, running with others, running by myself, running towards, running away, just plain running for a helluva long time. 

Not quite sure just what I have gotten myself into.  Certainly, a bit, or more, of some pain.  Hopefully, a bit, or more, of some nirvana.

And recently, on my little yak trak snowy run at Brainard Lake,

Chilly post-run me!

Chilly post-run me!

attempting to pick up some speed in short dabs of intervals, in chilly, windy conditions, I realized (again) that I run because, well, as trite as it sounds, because I can.  I am so incredibly blessed – to be able to run physically, to be able to run lifestyle-wise, to be able to run mentally, to be able to run, period. 

What a journey this will be.  I will post more when I can – stick with me, if you like – it might be interesting, and even, kind of fun!

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Hanging On

Hope Pass 2
I have been woefully neglectful, oh blogging world. Not writing. Not reading. Taking a break, I suppose. But life does not wait, and one must keep up. Or try, I suppose. So much has happened. So little has changed. It’s a total pendulum swing, and sometimes, I’m just trying to hang on.

So, in the spirit of hanging on, here are some shots from my long run this past weekend. Hope Pass, it is. Or, as my husband says, “Hope to not Pass out at 12,000 plus feet.” I was seriously slow on the uphill, wondering is it really possible for me to complete this 100-miler thing within prescribed cutoff times, and cruising fast (well, I hesitate to use that word in association with me – let’s just say not-slow) on the downhill. Stunningly beautiful run. Difficult run. Up and down, literally. Up and down, figuratively. Kind of like, well, life.

And since I seem to be thinking in mottos, here are some more:

Enjoy the beauty. Hope Pass 4

Embrace the harshness. Hope Pass 6

Be attentive (sorry, sort of a little hiccup here, but had to slide in a picture of the 2 big white dogs). BWDs

Go with it. Hope Pass 5

Be with it. Keep on, hang on. If it were all that simple…

Running is a language

boston strong ribbonRunning is a language. It is a language of health and vigor, a language of progress, a language of achievement, a language of determination, a language of dedication.

Murder is a language too. It is a harsh awful language, a language of oppression, a guttural articulation of despotism, of rage, of hate, of desperate loss.

My language, my voice was strangled at Boston.

But I shall recover it. And when I do I will dedicate it – to the people who died, to the people who were injured, to the people who witnessed the carnage. I speak for you. By running, my little footsteps drum out a rhythm, and I speak. Added with all the other voices of the millions who run, no matter how far or fast, our footsteps make a melody pure and eternal. We will dissolve that awful language of hate and destruction. We will not stop until it is done.

Wild Card

Wild card
About three weeks ago, 1 of the 2 big white dogs performed in her first official agility trial. Sascha UKC agility trial March 2013 I remember thinking, “Sascha is a wild card. She could be spot on, or she could zoom off into her own wild blue yonder.” I probably even uttered words to that effect.

Well, like Sascha, I am a wild card for the Boston marathon, less than a week away now. (Of course I am not talking about winning anything, just alluding to my own possible performance.) As some of you know, with a bit of a lower right leg dysfunction, and lots of life crap-stuff, my training went haywire and I am just about as unprepared for a marathon as I ever have been. However, I am also as relaxed as I ever have been – I’m not hyper-aware of the weather forecast, I don’t have all my gear piled up and ready to go in the suitcase, I can enjoy a drink without fretting whether alcohol will make me lethargic. It is liberating somehow. And as my husband points out, “You did the work to get there. Now just go have some fun.” And in that spirit, I have decided to go the colorful route, so here is a sampling of the some of the gear I will be wearing: Run Color

By the way, in Sascha’s agility trial, she did indeed zoom off into her wild blue yonder. But it sure looked like she was having a grand time! Agility 006

Fun

fun
This will be a truncated post. I could kvetch about all the obstacles put into my path lately and complain bitterly about how this is impacting my ability to a) prepare for the Boston marathon, and b) prepare for my 100-mile race in August. However, I will refrain. And I will remember two things:

1) This is FUN. It is recreation. This is not my job, not my career, not my life. If it isn’t FUN, it shouldn’t be done.

and

2) You do the best you can, under the circumstances. Everyone lines up having endured or experienced different factors or conditions. You can only really control one thing – your attitude.

So there.  Thanks for listening.  And go have some fun. By the way, the 2 big white dogs are VERY good at this.

Vagabond Feb. 2013 067 Fun

Curve Balls

Curve ballI’m usually not one to use sports metaphors, especially baseball ones. It is not my favorite sport – but never say never.

Life, it seems, has thrown me more than one curve ball lately. And I have discovered that I ain’t much of a catcher. On the upside (just your standard fast ball), I was able to run 12 miles yesterday morning despite a nagging achilles/tibialis posterior/lower leg dysfunction. If this was the only funky pitch I had to handle, I would be coping okay – this ‘lil old pain issue is being addressed (thanks to help from Lee Carman at Pain Solutions, Dawn Powell at Bridges Integrative Health and Dr. Tim Schardein at Vital Chiropractic), and although I am scaling back my goals for the Boston marathon, I will run it.

However, outta left field, life decided I should attempt to handle not only a curve ball, but a series of knuckle balls, or better yet, screw balls. Without getting into the long and gore of it, this has made me quite uncharacteristically pessimisstic, listless, depressed and well, angry. And anger ain’t pretty, and it makes your personal relationships strained, to say the least. And that creates even more challenges. Which just feeds the cycle of pessimism/listlessness/depression/anger.

But that’s life, I know. You don’t always get to, if you will, bat a thousand.

And I need to step up to the plate. (I know, I know, this baseball jargon is getting a bit much.) My optimistic side is thinking that I can indeed get through this rough patch, and that maybe there are some parallels here to the kind of physical and emotional challenges I will face in my 100 mile trail race. If I can get there, physically. If I can get there, emotionally.

My pessimisstic side, which seems to be in control at the moment, seriously questions the notion that I will get a shot at that race. (Yes, wrong sport, I realize.)

But, then again, you can be two strikes down, and it ain’t the end of the game. So, I say, play ball, life, play ball. Let’s just see who wins.

The Siren Song of My Shoes

Can't you hear them calling?  Don't they sound forlorn?

Can’t you hear them calling? Don’t they sound lonely and forlorn?

I was able to resist the siren call of my running shoes for three days. Well, actually almost 70 hours – but who’s counting? I am happy to report that the resistance was not for naught (with time off my heel pain is not worse), but the resistance didn’t really assist either (my heel pain is not better). Ugh. Chiropractor thinks I have nerve entrapment caused by a hypertonic tibialis posterior, probably from ramping up mileage and speed too quickly. And I knew I was doing that. And I knew that was a potential danger. But I got a bit cocky, I think. Silver lining is that my fitness is fine – with my (very) little run today I know that going faster feels fine with my body, minus the right lower leg.

So, two days ago, I became reacquainted with my bike. Lookout 030313 It will see a lot more of me, me thinks. If I can only stay away from the shoes…

There and Here

Sunday: a run in a blizzard. running in snow

Saturday: a run in short sleeves and shorts. run in the sun

In between, a ski day, a good hard Pilates reformer class, a crappy run with achilles pain.  Mileage still lower than I want it, pain more gone than there (am I just trying to be optimistic?, or is it the ibuprofen talking?).  Acupuncture session and loads of self massage have helped.  I should probably rest and let this heel heal.  But it is oh so hard!

 

Dog Shaming, Part 1

I can’t help myself. After a friend sent me a link to an article on Dog Shaming, I just had to create my own shots. Here they are:

Okay, so I wasn't really sure if it was Yoder or the foster dog, but someone decided my laptop was a delightful chew toy.

Okay, so I wasn’t really sure if it was Yoder or the foster dog, but someone decided my laptop was a delightful chew toy.

AMAZING sounds come out of this dog!

AMAZING sounds come out of this dog!

Yup, that's right.  That's me.  Pee-er extraordinaire.

Yup, that’s right. That’s me. Pee-er extraordinaire.

Notice how none of these pictures contain Sascha? Well, she certainly is the perfect princess, or is she? Wait for Part 2!

Success

MoneyYesterday morning, I was kind of half-listening to the radio, when I realized the station I was listening to was airing a program about how to succeed. I appreciate this little community radio station and I often think their programming is distinct and interesting, so I started to listen a bit more closely. Soon, I was struck not by the methods the program recommended to succeed, but by the definition they used of success itself – which came down to making money, and lots of it. It really wasn’t a surprise, being that I live in a capitalist society, but it did seem a bit, I don’t know, perhaps, well, narrow – the making of money, the making of more money, the making of the most money.

Now, I’m not against having enough financial wherewithal to have a comfortable life (and I suppose, we could argue endlessly the definition of “comfortable”). But to me, success is so much more than money. It is moving forward. It is being happy. It is changing course when moving forward is not the right direction. It is awakening every day and trying your best to be the best runner you can be, or the best artist, or the best garbage collector, or the best dog-owner, or, well, the best whatever.

I feel that I am often successful (of course, not always – there must be the yin, along with the yang).  Although my 100-mile run attempt has yet to come, and I may or may not be “successful,” I like to think that moving in that direction, taking one step forward, and then another, and another, either literally, or figurtively, or both, is what defines success. Perhaps I’m just consoling myself early for a potential DNF, but I don’t think so. I will try my hardest and with the most gumption I can drum up to finish. And I think that spells success.

How do you define success?