Friday, September 6, 2013

some serious mental training

***pictures to come***

For those of you that know me, you understand that since last summer my life has been spiraling out of control....literally to what has felt like the pits of hell.  From the disolution of a 13 year marriage and the massive collateral damage to my relationship with my oldest son (16 yr old) to me now hardly running even 10 miles a week and working almost double the number of hours I was a year ago.  My new status: I have chosen to be alive.  I don't have a clue what that looks like, but I'm going to live life alive.  No more survival mode.  No more self loathing.  Bring on life and living. 

My birthday was last Sat (Aug 31) and I turned 38.  I am so young it's not even funny.  I don't have arthritis.  I don't have any fatal diseases (other than being mortal).  In fact, I'm a damn healthy person.  I have allergies and asthma but since the break up of my marriage can you believe that my peak flows have actually improved?!  I still get allergies shots every two weeks and that's a pain in the ass but they are working.  I've been around cats.  I've even petted them as well as dogs without any reactions whatsoever.  I've been weaned off of some of my medicines.  The time of year has come when sage and chenopod run rampid and my allergies tend to soar which reeks havoc on my respiratory system.  So far, so good this year.  This is great news.  All of this leads to strength and the ability to overcome. 

This summer I've had the most random training...if you can even call it that.  I've had sporatic (at best) weight training.  Running has been as high has 60+ mi a week to zero mi a week.  So...pretty consistent in the wildly varying dept.  Don't ya think?  : )  I ran the MTC 40 mi in July and discovered the most amazing things.  #1 I had zero training except for the horrific mental training that I had been experiencing.  #2 I had nothing but positive mental places to be.  There were some hard climbs in the nearly 10K' of gain over the course and I actually ran out of water for several miles.  I had some generally unpleasant things happen just like in most races but something different happened at this race.  I didn't spiral into a mental low that looked like a bottomless pit.  In fact, I didn't spiral at all.  When I ran out of water, I knew I was within a few miles of aid and so I told myself "it's ok Amy.  This is going to hurt some because you want water.  You'll get it.  You'll be fine.  Carry on and get your ass to the AS".  So, I did.  No mental spiral.  I finished this race in the top 10 females.  I think there were only 11-12 girls but still.  I finished 8th with a time of 12:22:43.  I was so happy about that I think I smiled for a week.  Then in August, I was going back to Wild Idaho.  That was the setting for my very first ultramarathon in 2011.  So much has occurred in the last 2 years.  I never would have imagined.  This year however instead of barely being able to finish a 50K, I planned to dominate a 50 miler.  And dominate I did.  I took that race by the horns and owned it.  I made an agressive pacing chart and once again, with little to horrible training, I finished 4th female (of 5 total) and had a finish time of 15:09:28.  That 50 miler has approx 16K' of gain.  Beyond happy with my finish.  Of course this is after I had marked about 9 miles of the course the day before but hey, who ever said trail running was for pansies. 

Then just last weekend, over my birthday I got to help sweep the 100 mile IMTUF course with one of my favorite people, Emily Berriochoa. I've mentioned her in some of my previous blog posts but she is seriously one of my most cherished running friends.  She is a friend as much outside of running as she is in my running world.  We swept a little under half of the last of the course together.  We rang in my birthday at the Snowslide AS where one of my very best friends (Shanda) and I got to hang out for a while.  I felt so lucky to be alive in that moment.  Two other friends, Kristine Goodman and Kayla Meeker were there too and we sat around for a short while talking and sharing.  It's really amazing how you can inspire others and never even know you were doing anything.  Never underestimate the power of relationship.  I love my friends.  They've held my hand while I walked through fire this last year.  They've helped me put one foot in front of the other when I forgot I even had feet.  They've reminded me of who I am when I forgot.  They have loved me and supported me in ways that I never knew possible.  I will not underestimate the power of these bonds.

In talking with a friend today who is currently running a 5K a day for the entire year of his 39th year of age, I thought....I should do something like that too.  I don't see myself being able to commit to a 5K every day, but I can certainly commit to a minimum number of miles per week.  This is what I did a few winters ago when I needed to simply maintain my fitness.  So, I think I'll do something like that for my 38th year of life.  I'm not really about defining much or putting my goals in a box lately so I'm just going to leave it all flexy and say that I'm making this a hell of a year and am getting back to more and more of who I really am.  I like the "real me" better than the "survival mode me". 

OK, all you trail runners.  Carry on with your badass selves.  Go soak up some trail dirt and whether you're climbing, running a nice flat path or slamming a downhill, go for your life ALIVE and full of passion.  Don't quit, don't stop, push forward through the tough stuff.  There really is some light up ahead.