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It's amazing how caught up we get in this TOTALLY AWESOME sport of Ultra Trail Running, but when we encourage those who are hurt, ill, or sick to push on and it really smart? These days Rhabdomyolysis, Adrenal Fatigue (or blow outs), and Over training syndrome are becoming more and more common, ESPECIALLY among the elites. I just heard of a friend who found herself in the ER last week with a brutal thyroid and adrenal episode (and she wasn't even racing)! You would think one would be wise enough to know, something is not right with my body right now, I should not even try to run 100 miles today through the mountains!.. And yet we still do. I'm guilty indeed (maybe I am stupid) Why? Because we train so damn hard that's why! Most of us know this, but there are some readers who question our sanity as ultra runners as is. So why do we get so carried away? I guess it's because there are some sissy's out there who just don't want to push through some pain and we want to make sure we aren't being sissy's! Well, as most of you know, my Western States debut did not turn out as planned. Not even close.. I think I'm still in shock really. Grasping at hope and which direction to go into next. For those who don't know, my dreams of winning and breaking the WS record were shattered. I could tell something was wrong with my thyroid earlier in the week right before we left. The athlete in me just told myself that it was pre-race jitters. Never mind the racing heart, insomnia, and fatigue.. nothing caffeine can't fix and it will all go away on race day. On the contrary, it came back with vengeance. There really wasn't much I could do this close to the race anyways so again, just think of something else and you will be fine! I actually felt pretty good the morning of the race. I had no tummy illness (for like the first time ever in a race in a long long time), no neck pain, headache etc... ( all of which were typically associated with food intolerances stemming from the thyroid disease I didn't know I had pre-2014). BANG!.. the starting gun shot rang and the 2015 Western States endurance run had begun. I made my way up the first mountain climb. I think 2400 ish feet.. not sure, it didn't seem like much and was relatively easy as far as steepness goes. I kept my heart rate low and carried on over the summit into rolling, technical downhill. I felt as if I was in a dream... sleepy but frolicking through the vibrant mountain flowers and dancing over the rocks and streams. I would ebb and flow with Joelle Vaught. A mighty fine person, athlete and climber. Before I knew it, my pace had slowed A LOT.. and I could hardly keep my eyelids open. I tried everything.. coke, extra complex carbs (thinking it's a sugar thing too), but nothing seemed to work and certainly for no longer than a few miles. Staying cool and hydrated I rolled up to Robinson Flat aid station. Wyatt was flagging me down and he had a blanket set out with things I may need. I BEGGED HIM to let me sleep. I just wanted to sleep. I just wanted to lay down for 10 minutes.. maybe that would help. Maybe I just needed a nap? REALLY? .. a nap in the middle of a race and it was only around 30 miles. Talk about a MIND TWINE! He made me take my time, but he was not going to let me lay down. Just keep moving he yelled as I stumbled off. I had a bout of energy on the downhill and used it. There was some very misleading course markings or non course markings in the next few sections. They would cause more than a few people to go off course and some up to 40 minutes (not I this time). Constantly struggling, I just kept going. One foot in front of the other I told myself. After getting stopped by med checks, I made a decision I NEVER thought I would make in my life... to have a "pacer" run with me. Well, the spin on that was, it wasn't really a "pacer" more of a stand behind me, shut up, don't talk to me, just make sure I don't fall off a cliff "safety" runner. And so, I chose my husband. Sensitive to the situation he was more than happy to do it. He even made me smile a bit with his sweet words: " Alright, we finally get a date night! We get to go on a long walk in the woods in the dark!" (Wyatt). I can't think of a better best friend than that :) We trudged on and made our way down through Cal 1,2,and 3 to the river crossing. Honestly (and this is going to rub some of you the wrong way) the whole dang Western States course is switchbacks up and switchbacks down. Not my favorite, but the beauty of those California trails MAKE the race for sure! During that time I would grow more and more weary. Again, I could hardly keep my eyes open. The question of blowing out my adrenals came up again. I only had 22 miles left (was still in the top 20 females) and totally felt as if I could do it as long as I could just wake up. BUT!!!!.. do I keep pushing? I've already just pushed and pushed and pushed against something that is obviously wrong with my body. There was never a thought of "oh I went out too fast" or pushed too hard up the first hill... I truly TRULY don't even feel like I tapped my potential on those and certainly came into this race fit and prepared without any (maybe 2%) postpartum problems. As we approached the lit up aid station tent... I sadly proclaimed that I would be dropping. " I don't want too, I said..but I am afraid I'm going to completely blow out my adrenal glands if I haven't already." At this point, I was thinking, maybe I didn't. Maybe I could still save the rest of the year... but the thought of not finishing still sank my heart to the dirt. "Beginnings are usually scary and endings are usually sad, but it's everything in between that makes it all worth living." - Sandra Bullock in "Hope Floats" The ultra world sincerely is unique, supportive, and amazing EVERY SINGLE TIME ONE RACES. Life long relationships are formed here. I am just so happy to be a part of it and hope to continue to raise Maya Jo around it. I WANT TO THANK THE VOLUNTEERS OF THE WESTERN STATES 100. BY FAR THE BEST ANYWHERE!!!!! Every aid station was efficient, helpful, and SO encouraging. Your spirit is what brings success to this awesome event~ I would come back just to be around you too!!! SEE BELOW FOR A VIDEO OF MY JOURNEY!!! special thanks : Gu Energy, Flora Healthy, Ultimate Direction, Icespike, Eldorado Springs water, Barnes Chiropractic. DORK BROTHERS

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