For some reason, I'm hard wired to live life to the fullest no matter what crossroads I encounter. I always feel like with a crossroad, we are presented only with two different choices, give it up or fight for it. Which do you typically choose?
So here I stand again, with shaky legs, fatigue, exhaustion, and I ask myself " Do I keep pushing, or give it up?" I think most would support me if I decided to rest more, give up racing, relax into the more casual life, but I'm going to keep on going (although balance is very important too!). Not just for me, but for my daughter, and you too!
Now recently diagnosed with yet another disease (one of which I always thought I had too), I am exhausted and there are days I can't even get out of bed! Maybe I am more frustrated than anything. Why do doctors take so long to diagnose these things, help guide you with resolutions or maintaining sickness? Why don't they listen?! Ahhh but I know, they are only human too.
So now the list grows:
1. Wolf Parkinsons Syndrome White
2. Hoshimotos Thyroiditis (high antibodies present)
3. Graves Disease (yes the opposite of hoshi's in which I always thought I went high and low) High antibodies present.
4. Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease
5. ...and of course all the hip stuff, cysts, and severe arthritis..
Yup, I feel most of it could be related too, but onto the next specialist who may listen.
I do not write this for sympathy.. heck, my choice to push through the pain and the challenges is just that, my choice! I am only open about it so maybe someone out there reading this who has one or all or even their own challenges may find some hope. Note that I've been putting nutritional information in the monthly newsletter with recipes that aid in all of these health problems.
On the lighter side...
Going through all of this at the beginning of the year, right after the miscarriages has been a lot. No doubt I wasn't sure I could pull off another race, but just like I used Bandera 100k in January to help heal my broken heart from the lost babies, I used Austin Rattler to cope with more health problems. The ultra runner and even mountain biking community are an amazing support system. But I don't even have to tell you that, we read about it every day in every way in our news feeds!
How it all went down...
Austin Rattler 2018. 3 days of muddy fun!
1st day: Short Track Mountain Bike
2nd day: Mountain Bike 100k
3rd day: 66k Run
This year was much different from last year. Due to the extremely muddy course conditions, only about 40% would even finish the 2nd day. For the 6th time, I made the long, long, longggggggg drive down to Texas. Finally pulling into the drive of the event, my heart fluttered with excitement and a little stress. I had just enough time to set up camp (happy to be in the same spot with my friendly neighbors from last year-shout out to the Andersons!) and get my bike ready for the short track race. It went well. Although pro's rode 4 loops and amateurs 3, I stopped at 3, why, because I'm not a pro! :) ...but for some reason when registering, I was entering into that category not knowing there was a difference. Despite the misunderstanding, all went well, I rode hard, got more experience, and saw some of what the course conditions had to offer.
One of the more challenging parts to a 3 day solo camp fest in the mud is taking care of yourself and your bike in the time frame you have! So on to it! After the short track, I hurried back to camp to wash my bike again, oil it up and have it ready for the next day. The rest of the night would be dedicated to eating :) and resting myself!
The crickets, frogs, and critters were louder than any noise maker I've ever heard. Good thing they were all relaxing sounds that I could at least close my eyes too, but sleep would not be in the cards. I woke up even early than I wanted because it was clear my thyroid was not going to let me have any sleep that night. Getting to the starting line early in a mountain bike race has it's perks though. Most athletes are supposed to be in the appropriate corral based on their abilities, but that just doesn't seem to be the situation here. My determination would get me a good spot and a shot at not getting stuck behind those who may struggle on hills and technical parts (as it did last year). For my runners reading this.. it's pretty easy to squeeze your way through a crowd and get the starting position you want.. in mtb, NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!.
My Ultimate Direction vest was packed to the max (more so than most would typically do but without a crew I had to be sure I had what I needed).
1. Gu Brew Roctane mixed with Eldorado Springs Water.
2. GU Gels
3. Health Warrior pumpkin seed and chia bars
4. Bobo's oat bar
5. Salt Stick Salt tabs
Despite my efforts. I fell short on nutrition. The course conditions and relentless grind caused me to eat and drink way more than I typically do. I bonked, and I bonked hard. Riding strong the first loop of 3, close to the top 10, much to my surprise I started fading fast and went from podium driven, to survival mode. Slightly distraught, almost in a serene place, I pedaled my way to the finish line. Unaware I was even close to the cut offs and that most had dropped. Given I'm typically spot on with my nutrition, I wonder if my thyroid was somewhat to blame for lack of ambition.
Washing my bike AGAIN, myself and plopping down in my tent one more time for the 3rd day of fun yet to come, I closed my eyes and was out. This time sleeping like a rock. The 3rd day arrived. My feelings and emotions were mixed. Damn I did not want to run through that mud again and risk an injury with my already sore hips, yet I'm hear, awake and ready to run.... so let's do it. Much to my (as well as others) surprise, they altered the course a few miles to avoid SOME of the mud (although there was plenty left!). The sunnier end of the day the day before had dried some of it up causing more of a suction muck than full blown water mud suck :)
Oops! As we lined the start and bowed our heads for the National Anthem, I realized I didn't have a chip on my ankle as everyone else did!!! Ahhh.. quickly I grabbed a race person and they brought me one with seconds to go!
I had no idea what my competition was in this race. The previous years there were some young gunners going for their Leadville Coin (this is a Leadville qualifier race where you either win your way into the Leadville 100 or if you finish you get into the lottery drawing at the end of the race and if selected you go) and I was sure there probably was this year too. One of the national champ xterra ladies was there, I'm sure as well as others, but if any of them raced yesterday, they were probably as spent as I was.
So I ran. The start was dark and I didn't care who was in front or behind. I just ran. I ran to see if my hips could hold up, I ran to see if I could get lucky and win the "Queen of the Ranch" title again( winner has the lowest combined time of mtb and run), and in doing so could earn my spot at the Leadville 100 mtb though of course ;) (of course because most of you reading this know I'm down right obsessed with RRR 100 and will be trying AGAIN to finish that SOB!).
From the start, I knew today's nutrition would need to be adjusted. It was going to be a GU Gel day. The humidity was high, even though I made a great effort to rehydrate well after yesterdays race, today was just one of those days. A little gu gel down the hole, water, a bite of a bar a salt tab, REPEAT.
Racing the mtb the day before would have some perks. I found success in navigating my way through the dark, in the mud, running the last lines I road yesterday to ease the defiance of the mud. #HELLBENT. Get this thing done and it will be a successful weekend.
Pulling out what would taste like a little bit of heaven, I happily (notice I didn't say choked down) put down my last gel (the birthday cake flavor) and it literally woke me up like a party in my mouth! NO really, it's just such a different flavor than you would expect on the trail and it's like eating cake batter!!! Too many of this flavor MAYBE too much, but I would strongly suggest it for those tough moments!
3rd gear wouldn't exist today. I can go ahead and blame that on numerous things but I will just be happy to have finished and without any major issues. I did notice I had to have a shorter stride and like I said, couldn't push as hard as I wanted too, but I will take it! *Remember I'm not supposed to even be able to run! God willing (really praise the Lord), I can keep going.
1. QUAD ROCK 50 MILE RUN- (if God wants me too :) we will see how my body holds up these next few weeks!
2. BAILEY 100 MTB (please donate if you haven't! I'm almost to my goal it ALL OF IT goes towards kids and trails!) https://baileyhundo.org/register/con1.php?RegID=14013
3. SILVER RUSH 50M MTB (going for a better Leadville 100 mtb corral)
4. LEADVILLE 100 MTB
5. RRR 100
*RUGGED RUNNING THE CAMP! AUGUST 2-5TH (spots still available check it out here: https://www.ruggedrunning.com/the-camp)