It's been over a year and a half since I wrote my last blog entry. That was a race report on Music City Trail Ultra, 2016. I have run over 10 races since then; 8 of them being on trail; 7 of them ultra distances(beyond 26.2 miles). My life has gotten crazy hectic with a 9 & 11 year old, a Dog, Fish, Hemit Crabs, work; managing all of my training, mixed in with a lot of other overwhelming life stresses. I had to let go of blogging for my sanity, and to focus on the most important things. I do miss writing; even if I was never very good at it. I miss the outlet it gives me to process my thought, set future goals, and have written account of memories. A lot of races can become a blur if you are racing a lot, and it's easy to lose some important details of the long hours spent out there in the woods with trail running. After Music City Trail Ultra I ran a PR road marathon at The St. Jude Rock 'n' Roll Nashville Marathon.
One week after I ran my first road Ultra; Strolling Jim 40 miler; put on by the well known devilish race director and creator of The Barkley Marathon, Laz. (If you don't know anything about The Barkley Marathons, go look it up; "Marathon" is a somewhat loose word for what the race actually is). Strolling Jim; 40 Miles on road with the heat; that just hurts people! Especially one week after a hilly road marathon PR. I finished humbled.
I started training under a coach for the first time around this time. I had an amazing season of races lined up including a return to my favorite and first ultra; StumpJump 50k, and The Barkley Fall Classic 50k "ish". Training was going well and I felt fast, fit, and strong. Unfortunately I developed my first stress fracture over the summer before I could put my strength to the test at my fall races. I was devastated that at my strongest I would never get that chance to put my body, and mind to the test.
The doctor I saw for my injury told me I should,"Reconsider Distance Racing"...since I wasn't an Elite. I was highly offended. I don't know about you, but I dislike being told no. I don't give up easy. I would later go on to take his advice...and shove it. I would come back stronger, and smarter. I would learn what I did wrong, and strengthen my weaknesses. As soon as I learned about my stress fracture, I went out and bought a road bike, and immediately learned to ride clipped in. My second ride was a group ride around the hilly road of our local park, Percy Warner. I was all in, even if I was back of the pack because I knew nothing other then grit. I didn't give up. I learned fast and eventually worked my way up. My longest ride was 60 miles. I also signed up for a recap in swim lessons; since my swimming was rusty, and needed a lot of work to just stay a float. I swam, and rode my heart out. It was actually quite fun learning about these new sports; giving me something to take my mind off of not running. But I still missed running the most. I made new friends but missed my running friends too. It was hard watching results of races posted and all the photos of everyone having fun. But I stayed positive.
My stress fracture healed quicker then the doctor expected. I was back running around November. I raced my first race back in January at The Cloudland Canyon 1/2 Marathon.
(Photo by Greg Gelmis; We Run Race Photos LLC)
Even before my first run back I was trying to decided on future race schedule for the next year; because as trail runners know; races are small and usually fill up fast. You have to start thinking about next years races while you are waiting on Santa to pop down the chimney the year before. My friend Joshua was going to sign up for his first 100 miler; Zion 100 in Utah in April. After seeing the beautiful photos, and not wanting to miss out on the chance to run our first 100 at the same time I committed to 100 miles before I was even back running. I decided I wanted to do a 100 so bad because I had been saying "One Day" for quite a while. I had thought what if I kept waiting for that "One Day" to come and I wasn't physically able, or the responsibilities in my life wouldn't allow it. No more waiting. 100 miles here we come! We convinced my other best friend Annapurna the same thing; she had to do her first 100 with us! The trio was in! I ran 3 races as training runs leading up to Zion 100; Mountain Mist 50, Nashville Running Company's Dry Creek Trail race Marathon, and Land Between The Lakes 50 miler. I made a change in coaches during that time to go with a local coach who could spend more time with me on details and training form etc.
Hours and miles I pouring into training. I trained at all hours of the day, all weather.
There was that crazy night run where we ran all through the night from midnight to sunrise in the freezing cold!
Training went great and before we knew it months ticked away and it was Zion time. My family; my husband Russ, and my two kids; Jayson and Ella made it a long road trip out to Utah traveling the whole week prior and stopping at places like New Mexico, Flagstaff Arizona, and the Grand Canyon.
The furthest I have ever traveled for a race; another reason it made this race so memorable. All three of us finished our first 100 miler! Not without the many struggles that come with that distance. I finished after terrible stomach issues the next morning with a time of 30:38:07. 14th female, 88th overall.
While there was nothing better then just the great task completed of just FINISHING my first 100, I knew I had more in me. I made a goal right away to choose another 100 mile race later in the year. Time to give 100 miles another go after applying all of my new lessons learned. Pinhoti 100 in Alabama was my next goal race. So here I am now months and miles later; 5 weeks out from my second 100 miler. I have since recently raced two races as training runs leading up to my 100; Rebecca Mountain 50, and The Georgia Jewel 35.
A few more weeks of tough training and it will be taper time once again.