"What's Important Now..." or
"What I Need" or
"Who I Need"
Winning isn't just about gold medals, prize money, or bragging rights. Winning has to do with how it affects one's heart. We've probably all made it to the top one time or another, only to feel a different feeling, the feeling of emptiness. Why is that?
Yay.. and congrats to Suzi Collins for doing the 50 mile RRR
Why do sometimes we face these struggles, challenges, and choices and "win" the career promotion, or the race, or the title...yet still feel empty?
Could it be because it wasn't important now?
Could it be because it wasn't what you needed right now?
Could it be because it wasn't the people, the environment you needed?
We all get caught up in investing ourselves in one thing and go so far we won't quit or change directions because of the mere fact that we did invest so much. Perhaps we are missing the point. The point that we are also supposed to enjoy, learn, and grow from the adventure itself, not the end result. Not the expectation, but the unforeseen, the trials and challenges.
Daily, as you embark on your journey, ask yourself those simple questions:
"What's Important Now..."
"What do I Need"
"Who do I Need"
A few months ago I felt empty. Although I had a lot to be grateful for, I also felt like there was more "winning" to be done. More of me to offer the world. More service I could do regardless of my health circumstances. When it came down to it, it was either fight for it or not, but if you don't take the first step, if you don't make the effort, you will never feel the success of a FULL HEART a true "WIN."
“Effort Creates Action, Action Creates Momentum, Momentum Creates Success.”
- DWAYNE ‘THE ROCK” JOHNSON
So as I put one foot in front of the other, focusing on what I could do, not what I couldn't do, I WON at Run Rabbit Run 100 mile. No not the first place prize, but that feeling of happiness, joy, fulfillment, beyond my expectations.
I felt God wanted me to do this. He wanted me to take action. He wanted me to inspire. He also didn't want me to end up in the hospital again so stopped me at the 100k mark :) !!! I felt accomplished. I did not feel I needed to push on. I felt I WON.
Sure.. some of you are saying "that's what everyone says when they DNF (do not finish)." Nope, not me. Not this time. I had confirmation, that will stick with me for the rest of my life... you know what it was?
A lady who had been reading and following my blog posts yelling:
"Blessings look like Bullshit."... all the way down fish creek falls...
Cheering me on. Shout out to that lady, and all the supporters of not just my trophies, but my WINS in life.
Flash back a few years ago where I found myself in bed for over 17 hours a day. I was very weak and ill. Doctors have found numerous health concerns since then:
Thyroid Hoshimotos and Graves disease (opposite diseases at once)
2 Heart Birth Defects
1 Pancreatic Birth Defect
Abnormal response of Insulin and Glucagon
Small Fiber Neuropathy with a sweat disorder
Rare Adrenal Medulla problems- No epinephrine.
Rheumatoid positives (RF, U3RNP, ANA, HLA-B27, you name it)
Severe Medication Allergies
The list goes on... but you see, although it would be nice to have a name and solid diagnosis's ... it probably wouldn't change too much of my treatment plan. So again, I have the choice, to make the effort, to create action, to create momentum in overcoming the obstacles in life. To not victimize, to FIGHT.
RRR 100 2023, was not planned. I did train as if I were training for a race but I was still unsure which one God was calling me to do. Certainly not a mountain race with uncontrolled asthma and hypoxia issues! Yet I felt a pull in that direction. But how could this possibly work out? I trained and waited week after week for direction as well as doctors release/approval. 2 days before the race start, my doctors wrote with some good and bad news. The bad news being I needed more testing that wouldn't take place for some time due to wait lists. The good news being I could race as long as I listened to my body, kept my expectations from exceeding what we already new my body could do and having the ability to call it if anything got questionable.
This was only one hurdle. I had to get approval from the race directors for entry. I had to either do it without a crew or ask people to drop things last minute. I had to devise my plan of execution and what signs I would see or crew would see in order to make the decision to medically pull me. I realized though, my trail community is "WHO I NEEDED." (just like when I previously miscarried, the trail community is "who I needed)."
It all happened. And when that gun went off, I had very little expectations and was just purely grateful to be out on the trails again. I knew I would need to remain conservative on the first climb in order not to tick off my lungs right away, I knew that a top 5 position would be bold but reasonable. (Huge shout out to my crew Lynaia and Giovana for supporting me at the Gondola, Fish Creek and Olympian Hall points.) Much to my surprise, hiking a lot of the way, I crested the top of Mt. Werner, passing the first place female just after the aid station (although I didn't even realize I was in first). I carried on conservatively down fish creek falls. Rolling into the aid station, I was told I was first elite female but I couldn't believe it. I knew I would need to execute that technical downhill because the uphill would be another hike in order to keep my body happily running, but I didn't expect to be first. As I trudged up fish creek falls, gaining that remarkable support of "Blessings look like Bullshit.." I knew the other elite women would catch up soon. I was great mentally with it. After all, that was the agreement and the plan. I allowed one to pass by. I didn't fight, I didn't speed up or try. I knew I was doing exactly "WHAT I NEEDED."
To my surprise, none of the other women passed me by as I approached the Long Lake Aid Station. I took care of myself. Not hurrying, getting "WHAT I NEEDED, for WHAT'S IMPORTANT NOW." As I left the aid station, the volunteer told me I was 7 minutes behind the lead. The next section of the course is a fun one. Above 10,000 feet runners take a rugged jeep road over to the Summit aid station. I put in one ear bud and rocked out to some music as I shuffled along. Refueling at the Summit Aid Station, I exited and starting heading down (this section of the course is miles of downhill, some technical, some not as much). I caught a glimpse of my blue hands and wait, the first place lady?! Huh, I thought, well that was a win right there. I certainly didn't think I'd make up that much time on her going the pace I was. The drone flew up ahead ( ps.. you can watch the live version of the race here )
Part of me wondered if they knew who I was and if they knew the lead had changed. Those thoughts quickly drifted as one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever witnessed took place. Everything around me was orange and it was like running in a dream. Hammering down into Dry Lake aid station, I called out for part of my epic crew
(Deyvison and Adam)... who dropped all to be there for me. I got my soup and was on my way to Olympian Hall.. but not before I spooked a bear off the trail!
At this point the oxygen was becoming concerning. Although now in lower elevation, I had hopes that it would re-boost and I may make it back up to Summit. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I gave it my all with running up Blackmere, hiking the steep portions but oddly my arms began to hurt considerably (my legs too but I have run over 50 miles through the mountains at this point :). With those oddly hurting arms, they became stiff, almost like rigor mortis. I waddled into the OH aid station for the 2nd time just recently being passed by a few of the ladies. I knew this was not good, but hoped we can lather me with muscle rub and I could continue. Sadly this was not the case, but I'm so grateful for a clear headed crew who knew when to help me make the hard decision. I was pale, not making sense, and stuck like a stiff robot.
Yes, there was some disappointment that I couldn't selfishly continue and go on to maybe win the prize, but as I started this blog post.. I WON. I felt like I won. I was so excited for my future in running again. I was so grateful for the experience and being back on the trails again with "What's Important Now, Who and What I needed."
I recovered quicker than anticipated given my 100k mountain adventure. I have a pulmonary stress test this week that will decide if I need to be on full time oxygen (currently on nightly oxygen for the hypoxia) (which is absolutely nuts to even think about). I have a new asthma inhaler that Sports Medicine is helping me get approved by WADA (World Anti-doping)... and I already have my eyes and heart (God willing) on racing/inspiring again!
Special thanks to ICESPIKE, GU ENERGY, Eldorado Springs Water, Fred & Paul (race directors, the volunteers, and my epic, last minute crew (Lynaia, Giovana, Adam, and Deyvison) and all the Rugged Runners, SheRUGGED family, ... I'm excited for our next adventures!
Want to join us?
We have some fun Holiday Challenges starting October 1st! Light enough to add onto any current programming you may have, or just enough to get you started. Prizes!!!