PHOENIX- A MYTHICAL BIRD THAT RISES UP FROM THE ASHES...(my next tattoo :)
"IF I COULD LIGHT THE WORLD UP FOR JUST ONE DAY" - PINK
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot." (Matthew 5:13-14)
"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)
I don't need to tell you this though, you all know you are special in your own way and we all can build a great community to get each other over whatever finish line lies ahead. Check out Matt Collins' story on his first 100 miler ever which just so happened to be RRR 100!
Please note my religious beliefs do not necessarily reflect Matt or Joe's, they simply were nice enough to share their stories too!
CLICK HERE TO READ MATT'S STORY. It's better than mine anyways!
Still don't think we are real people, just like you with injuries, work and family schedules...read up on Joseph Delconte's 3rd time executing RRR 100, even after a hard effort of 70 miles at the Leadville 100 a few weeks before it!
Photo by Paul Nelson #trailjunkiephotos
CLICK HERE TO READ JOSEPH'S STORY. It just may motivate you!
You see, I didn't keep trying just for myself, I did it for all of you too. Especially those who are low because of an injury, a disease, a sickness. I believe God has given me these challenges, to fight through them, so maybe someone who lost their fight, could get it back. YOU were my motivation.
Photo by Paul Nelson #trailjunkiephotos
There is no doubt that I didn't win RRR 100 2018 without God. (If you don't like me talking about my beliefs, then stop reading my blog!) That his works shined through me. After all, throughout this 2+ year process of the double hip surgeries, miscarriages, one failed RRR 100 attempt and other health battles, he was my rock.
"WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE" (MATTHEW 19:26)
I tried to replace the emptiness with wine, food, and other various depression outlets, but nothing helped, nothing filled that void, but the one thing that gave me hope, that tugged on my heart strings, was faith in God. That there was logic for all of this, and as hard as life can be sometimes, if I can just hold on to faith, for some reason everything felt so much better (faith- complete trust or confidence in someone or something). It gave me HOPE.
To me, confidence is a choice, not something you are born with. Growing up I was picked on, beat on, put down, and yet some how I still rose up. That "some how" was a choice. I have a choice to RISE UP, or lay down, believe in my training, to make healthy food decisions, to rise up again and again... even now, when life continues to beat me in the ground. So do you! You are good salt and light too!
(watch more here on salt and light from Flatirons church:
"AND I DON'T REALLY CARE IF NOBODY ELSE BELIEVES, CAUSE I STILL GOT A LOT OF FIGHT LEFT IN ME"
PHOTO BY: PAUL NELSON
HOW IT ALL WENT DOWN...
The ball dropped, fireworks shot off...it was New Years 2018 and I made it a goal to get stronger than I ever have. That would mean I had a lot of work to do, so I didn't waste any time! Fast forward to noon on September 14th. The gun went off and so did any other thoughts in my head. My focus was here in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, executing the Run Rabbit Run 100 mile race. I had tried before in 2017, only one year post surgeries. It was a success in terms of what was thought to be possible, but I had only made it 70 miles. No time for negative thoughts though, I was too busy sucking wind behind Schlarb (the male leader and later winner), as we scurried up the black diamond ski slope towards the gondola. I was actually happy with how I felt, I kept myself from "redlining", breathing too hard, or working too hard, too soon. This year the start would be a bit different, I was hoping to take the trail all the way up, it was really challenging but runnable. This year we started off on a trail but for the most part bushwhacked our way up the ski slope.
I was all smiles approaching the gondola as Fred (the race director) cheered me on and my crew assisted me in loading up for the long haul. This beast was going to take a lot of calories and with the heat 80+ degrees, a lot of fluid too. The course kept going up, but much easier on a fire service road before we skimmed the top of the mountain and headed down on a rolling, hilly and technical trail called mountain view.
I was in good position, I was pretty sure I was in the women's lead (which I wasn't trying or expecting but for sure had it in my mind to run my own race), but sitting 20 something among the men. Entering into Long Lake aid station, my plan was to keep it quick with a water refill and out.
Hammering down Fish Creek falls, my belly started to gurgle. Oh no! I had to go! It would HAVE to wait. There was on-coming traffic with some of the tortoises on their way back up and the trail was narrow and demanding. My eyes were glued on the trail but out the corner of my eye I made out a few Rugged Runners on my way down who were on the ascent. It always gives me encouragement to know my peeps are on the trails with me too! Storming into Fish Creek AS, I blew past Wyatt and My sister (best crew ever! Shout out to my other Rugged Runners- Jean, Kerri, Suzi,... there to help as well) right to the bathroom! Exiting, I hoped that would be the last of it, but there was so much more sour stomach to come... 19 more times to be exact...it would make for a not as enjoyable day but I hammered through.
My mind was stressing over why I possibly had such a bad stomach upset. Was it the flu? Too many probiotics? Something I ate...couldn't be what I ate, I've got that dialed in! UHG...Regardless, I would HAVE to deal with it because just a few minutes later back up the trail, I would have to bush bomb, again! No worries, I said, it will pass, just keep going!
Cruising through the Long Lake AS once again and onto Summit Lake AS, I was surprised the sun was going down so fast. I knew the new course would take more time, but already?! This was such a mental struggle for a bit for me. Trying to keep my stop at Summit quick, I didn't even think to grab one of my good head lamps out of my drop bag, but being prepared, I always have a smaller one in my vest. I shot down FOG (flash of gold- and wow that is an understatement, more like the most beautiful orange sunset you have ever seen on a trail, more radiant than a rainbow!), trying to make every last minute in the daylight count. Once that big orange ball sank behind the mountain, I reached back over my head to unzip the upper pocket in my Ultimate Direction vest to get my headlamp. I love this vest! Yeah I know it's old, but it has never let me down! Bummed, I struggled to see the trail in the night dust (dust because it was so dang dry, night or not, clouds of dirt followed us along the course). Kicking myself for not grabbing my better head lamp, I suddenly heard the water in the creek trickling and excitedly made my way up to Dry Lake where I would meet that handsome bald fella I call hubby and crew! Wyatt wasted no time on getting me in and out.
6.5 miles down Spring Creek, over 14+ bridges, and then on the sidewalks through town, led me to Olympian Hall, the next aid station where crew and family and friends would be happy to see me. Again, I wanted this to be semi-quick because there was a few mile steep climb coming up. So steep at one part, they call it "Lain of Pain." This portion of the race was a figure 8. I was honored to help Fred create it and told him I'd probably be cussing him out during the race for letting me talk him into putting the Lain of Pain back in from his original draft of this loop. But I loved it. Nailed it, although 2nd place Emma would kill it too with gaining a few more minutes on me from Dry Lake. I was about 26 mins up from her at this point. This got my adrenaline going a bit. From here we'd go back up to Dry Lake and once we pass there, no crew, no updates, just hard core running through the early morning hours for 30+ miles to get back to the finish. I battled back. Putting on more time than I thought, especially because once through Dry Lake we ran a side trail that was primarily used for downhill mountain biking.. and it was extremely technical, well most of it. I had to use my hands to get up some of the steep rock portions and felt the pressure of needing to go faster as "riked"-run/hiked up the mountain.
Once getting to Summit Lake again, I stopped for a quick picture, a cup of soup and realized the guy I past while leaving, was a hare! OOoooo I thought I must be doing okay, but had no idea the position I was in overall. My 3 goals when I started were 1. win for females 2. top 5 overall and 3. finish.
*As a coach, I recommend making 3 goals out for every race. You just never know what could happen out there in an ultra and this way if ankle breaks, you still may be able to get that final goal ;)
I just kept pushing. I had no idea where Emma was (the last update was actually at OH when she was just 26 minutes behind me). Frantically running into Long Lake, I knew I was close. I just had a 1/2 marathon or so to go and over 6 miles of it was downhill. Shoot, though, downhill? Normally I'd be happy with that, but my hips were only getting worse and I wasn't sure if they were going to start giving out or not. No time to dwell, just go... and go and go and keep going. The words of the Long Lake AS volunteer rung in my head, "If you have a strong finish you should be able to win this." Strong? What does he mean by strong, is this not fast enough? Do I need to go faster? How could I possibly go faster? How strong?!!!
Once on the gravel service road headed down to the finish line, my body wanted to stop and walk so bad. My hips felt weak, and as you can imagine, everything hurt. I couldn't, I kept running. It was slow, but steady and upon arrival to that beautiful ZIGZAG trail sign (the final mile), I certainly wasn't going to lose it now. BOOM!...Tears filled my eyes as I approached the finish line, greeted by so many awesome people who have supported me along the way (not just in the race, but through life). Miracles do happen, I was never supposed to run again, and I won a 105 mile mountain race by 50 minutes!!!
*This is exactly what I love about Rugged Running. We are all Rugged, we all have our issues, health problems, etc.. yet we are always there for each other. LOVE YOU GUYS!!!
Here's a theme song to that and this race! CLICK HERE
MAJOR THANKS TO ALL MY SPONSORS, CREW, AND RUGGED RUNNERS! AS WELL AS RACE DIRECTORS PAUL, FRED, AND BRADY!!! Killer course this year guys!
Eldorado Springs Water
EVERGREEN MOUNTAIN SPORTS
I COULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS WITHOUT ALL YOU GREAT PEOPLE INCLUDING:
CU SPORTS MEDICINE- DR. MEI DAN AND TEAM
BACK AND JOINT CLINIC- DR. MARK
MASSAGE TO HEALTH- JING