Monday, September 5, 2016

It happens in the hard, lean WAY in - 09/03/2016

Jon and I went up to McCall late on Friday night.  It was nearly dark when we left Nampa...Joy safely tucked in bed with G'ma at the house to care for our precious piece of life.  We arrived exhausted from a long week of firsts, first xc meet (Jon is the coach), first week of school for kids, first week of full volleyball games, etc.  I slept in the back of the Durango with the dog.  Jon slept on the ground outside.  I didn't set an alarm but woke up about 6:45am with some light.  We got up and quickly got to work since we two summits to climb and some miles to run in between. 

In the HARD places, is where the real work happens.  I'm trying to focus on the shedding of my old self which looks more like scar tissue being broken up or like a sledge hammer breaking up concrete.  Once these things are loosened up, it gives way for water, air and sunshine that cultivates growth for a sprout that is my true thirsty self, so desperate to drink and grow.  I want to develop this growth.  This way of BEING, me being the self I was created for and meant to BE from the beginning.  This manifested on trail of the second of two HARD climbs for our run.  The climb up Snowslide (first climb) is a crazy level of hardness.  Jon was staying behind me and this was bothering me so much.  He kept saying he just wanted to go at my pace, that bugged me to an inappropriate level.  Jon is experienced on trails, stronger than any human man I've known.  Never once was he on my heels or doing anything annoying, it was just that he was behind me, potentially watching me.  This was clearly MY issue and about me, nothing that he was doing.  I was so frustrated and eventually demanded that he go in front.  I didn't want to be responsible for his training, or lack thereof.  He said "I am my own person and I can make sure I get my training needs met".  Nonetheless, he went on.  I kept asking myself what the big deal was and why couldn't I be okay with him behind me.  

Enter a couple of hours later as we are climbing up the Fall Creek trail (second climb) which is another ass killer of a climb.  Jon was running ahead of me and would run back to where I was a couple of times, just to say hi and then carry on.  Eventually he had stopped to give the dog water and I was in a good rhythm so I passed him.  We had just over a mile of steep climbing to do.  Because of my raw mental state (what happens with miles on end of 1000' of gain per mile) I got very upset after he and the dog caught up to me to just stay behind me.  In an exacerbated fashion, he did not understand why I couldn't be okay with him just hanging back behind.  He went ahead in a tone of being stonewalled and I felt bad knowing this was about me and my issue.  He did not return to check on me this time...I asked myself repeatedly, WHY CAN I NOT BE OKAY WITH HIM BEHIND ME?!  I nearly asked it out loud.  The answer was loud and clear.  I want Jon to think I am strong.  I want him to think good of me and I desire his acknowledgement of this.  Having him behind me on a climb is NOT showing him strength.  It's showing him my frailty. my scar tissue, concrete, old ways of being.  Giving power to the man in my life that doesn't belong to him.  Whether it's my dad, my adult son, or the man in my life, the power of knowing I am strong doesn't belong to a person.  That power should rest safely in my spirit.  Climbing is my relative weakness.  It exposes the side of me that stops for rests.  It lays raw this part of me that I don't like.  To show that side of me to the one I've given power of deciding whether or not I am strong is like a lose-lose situation.  In that brutally exposed moment of seeing the scar tissue/concrete for what it is, I began to lose my composure.  I was still heavily climbing and could not keep my breathing.  I bent over, hands on knees and had some minutes of letting myself cry at what I saw.  Finally, I stood up AND CARRIED ON!  This new idea of what I had just realized was sitting very heavy on my heart.  I knew what I had seen was true.  The extremely overwhelming idea of how I could ever change was daunting to say the least.  I crested the summit and took some pictures.  We started heading down and I began to ask my Creator, how will I ever be able to know that I'm good/strong in my weaknesses if it doesn't come from my Dad or any other man I've given said power to?  It's not going to be relative to others or dependent on any other human.  In the same way I know I'm strong enough for other things, I will learn and know in my depths that I am strong on the climb, in life, in whatever.  I will know this and grow this sprout of knowing.  Period! 

It felt exhaustive mentally to do this work. A mentor of mine says the reason people don't do this work is because it's hard.  A couple weeks ago when I visited with her she asked, "Do you know why people don't do this kind of inner work?"  I replied, "Yes I know why.  Because it's so hard."  I added, "You know why people don't run 100 miles?"  She quickly smirked and said "Yes, I do!".  I won't quit.  I won't quit on myself, I won't quit at working on myself and I won't quit at IMTUF! 



Part 1:

The vertical grounding.  Mind, Body, Soul.  Very separate entities with specific purposes.  The daily grounding and quiet reminders of where I've come from and who I was created to be.  This is my daily morning Jesus/coffee time.

Part 2:
Stabilizer: the thing you can't NOT do.  Running, physical exercise, dance, moving my body, doing HARD HARD stuff.  It's a portal.  A portal to my Creator and a way that I access a limitless cauldron of will, determination and stick-to-it-ness.  A name for the stabilizer would help.  My soul knows but in order for my physical body to recognize, I need a visual and a name.  I'm inspired to study about Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce trip from the Wallowa Valley (OR).  Chief Joseph's given native names was Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt which means Thunder rolling down mountain.  He was a leader, a peace seeker and someone who did not give up easily.  He was described as having an iron will.  I'm working on the name for my stabilizer and a picture too.  The healing power of electricity which is part of what creates thunder.  A lightening bolt may represent the vertical grounding part 1).  I can LEAN into this because it's stronger and bigger than myself.  It is not intimidated by my insatiable needs...the ones that reach deeper than what is ever seen by others, the needs that are known in the deep.  I don't rely on it to do work that I need to do, I lean on it while I do the work. 

Part 3:
Mindset.  The mindset is the path.  The path of where I'm headed and who I am going to be.  The plain, simple, old-school me.  The me that my soul and spirit remember but have been given reasons to not BE.  The me that loves pure beauty that only nature can offer.  The me that hates AC and microwaves.  The part of me that wants to do it the hard way, wants the rugged, tough and tired path.  It's worth it.  The peace that comes from this mindset and path of life, is insurmountable.   

How does this manifest into a finish at IMTUF.  I'm not exactly sure yet.  Maybe it doesn't matter, but I have a deep seeded feeling that it's the deal breaker or rather the deal sealer.  Prior to my BigHorn 100 finish in 2012, I knew I would finish.  I was solid in that no matter how horrible I felt, there was just nothing short of a fracture in my femur that would stop me.  I have tried to figure out what got my mind in that place and get there again.  Somehow, it's resurrected...that mind set.  Like a phoenix.  I'm excited.  I'm ready to explode with desire and drive. 

Three weeks from tonight I will be running all night.....the "thing" that sets 100 milers apart from all other ultras.  The over night component.  I will run my race.  I will focus on what I need and not where I am in comparison to others.  I may come in DFL but it matters not.  What matters to my spirit is that I finish.  The end.  I will conjure my iron will that hasn't quit on my life and is just getting started.  The call of the mountains is so strong in me.  The mountains offer limitless opportunities for HARD...the portal. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

100 mile re-entry test #1

First of all, going into this race I already had my sights set on a future race.  I was using Beaverhead to do kind of a litmus test if you will.  Beaverhead is a 55K that is in high country and took place on 7/9/2016.  It starts at a low elevation of 7500' (ish) and climbs to over 10K' a couple of times.  I've run a couple races that go into the 9000's and had a few breathing issues but nothing that was a race ending for me.  I have not been eating wheat since the first of May.  It's had some mixed results... I've had NO GI issues on any runs, I wheeze a lot less and I just plain feel better.  During and post-race I had no wheezing AT ALL.  That is a miracle.  I always have wheezing the night after long runs and a tight chest the next day.  I didn't have either of those.  WHOA!!! 

Things that went right:
  • Altra Superiors were awesome.  No issues at all. 
  • I felt so bad and had such a hard time with the 4 miles of bonk-ville that I was fighting the DNF demon like crazy.  I still can't believe I won.  I thought of a recent book I just read and other people I know who influence me.  In the end, I decided that I would take care of myself when I reached the AS and give myself like 5-7 min to get cals in.  That I would carry on and no bonk would cost me my race. 
  • No blister issues.  No clothing problems, I had arm sleeves and a tank top with my jacket in my pack which I did eventually put on when it started raining.  It was so hot I actually took the jacket off and ran in the rain. 
  • baggie for my phone. I loved listening to music when needing to concentrate on the "what".
  • I realize that I don't want to talk or hear anything when I'm in a hard working section when I'm needing to remember my "why". 
  • I drank a lot of water... and stayed hydrated which may have very well saved my race.
  • ZERO wheezing during the race or even after.
  • A fellow runner friend had an elevation profile that I did not have but was wishing for prior to race start.  She randomly offered me a copy just before race start to which I was immediately so grateful.  I pulled that out so many times.  It felt like my woobie!

Things I need to work on:
  • eating MORE and not bonking.  ***this is a long race deal breaker***
  • I was searching in my bag on the way to the start for my clippers that I swear I packed.  I never found them.  My toe nails really needed to be cut.  They paid the price with at least my one big toe and one pinky toe nails due to big blood blisters underneath.  I hate when that happens.  My other big toe nail may go to.  This is normally not a problem for me. 
  • Focus on executing MY race.  PERIOD.
  • My mindset during the race.  I had a lot of fear going into this race.  I could tell that I was getting low on calories before I even hit the first AS.  In the first six miles, I ate two things in my pack and I didn't have an endless supply of food volume to eat like that all day.  I was fearful that I wouldn't have the fuel I needed at the AS.  So I skimped and that was a bad decision made only in fear.  Fear of bonking (happened), fear of quitting/wanting to quit (happened...didn't quit but wanted to)...just generally fearing focus.  My focus needs to be on keeping my body fueled so that my mind makes it do what I want it to do!
  • I need to figure out a lot more food options.  The only thing that got me even feeling a little better was soda.  The last three AS were nothing but soda-fests.  I had food too but had at least 8-12oz of soda at each AS. 
I have a LOT of work to do before I am ready for a 100 miler but I'm going to give it my all.  IMTUF I'm coming back to claim my finish from 2012. 

Random: some people have said to me "it's good to see you're back".  I don't feel like that's quite accurate yet.  I have a LOT more training and prep to do.