Hi, long time no write. I had all the intentions in the world of providing a follow-up entry to my first ever “blog/journal/diary” post: My first 100 miler. I was pleasantly surprised by the feedback and thought that perhaps chronicling my adventures might be beneficial for me and others. However, what I didn’t expect was that essentially immediately after my race I went into a deep depression; unable to write or convey my emotions. At the time and afterward, I dubbed this a “sports depression.”  Probably more actual depression than I realized. I defined this by attempting to trick myself because I was not laying in bed with the blinds down, or sitting over in the corner by myself at lunch. But more along the lines of I was afraid to run, I was afraid to ride, climb or do anything that might require cross-training and/or physical therapy. See what most people do not realize is that I spend about 60% of my time jumping rope, or jumping over stupid agility cones to stay healthy and injury free. Or using my stupid exercise ball or pushing a sled or other really dumb things to keep me healthy. Last year I finally put it all together but realized the amount of work needed to keep a 44 year old healthy. So that freaked me out and I gained 15 pounds literally doing nothing.

After the race, I essentially quit running. Sometime in late October, I slipped away to St. Lucia. I totally imagined sitting on the beach. But somehow that place slowly got me out of my funk. I ran every day and at the time set one of the fastest times up and down the Grand Piton.

I did this on dead legs so I was starting to get my mojo back. Not only did I underestimate my mental recovery, but my physical recovery was also taking way longer than anticipated. I describe it as I could still run an 8-minute mile, but it took twice the effort because my muscles were non-existent.  Things would slowly turn for the better. I will never forget that phone call from Austin Rains and Caleb Baybaybon. They asked me if I would like to run Wildwood Trail End to End on December 2nd (this is an iconic trail in Forest Park ). I always wanted to get this off my bucket list so I jumped at it. Even met Hannah Allen who would join us along the way. I suffered and I hurt, but I ran and managed a 5h55m time for my first ever E2E 30.4 miles.IMG_0924

At some point along the way, I stopped thinking of races, runs, and adventures. But one particular day my calendar notification went off for Mountain Lakes 100 signup the next morning. Not one day had passed that I did not think about the four minutes I missed getting a “silver buckle.” I would go to bed and wake up thinking about that cluster fuck at Olallie, or that long hill, or the frost, or that infamous poop, that cost me FOUR MINUTES.

The next morning I woke up to go the restroom. I wake up every single night to go to the restroom. For some reason, I slept all night but woke up 15 minutes before the signup opened online. I had forgotten all about it. I sat down to do my business and all of a sudden I remembered. So I signed in with my cell phone. I finished up and then ran quickly downstairs to get my laptop. I frantically signed in on the laptop but had to update my credit card and all kinds of crap. Okay-I finally get past all those steps and hit “signup”.. well nothing happened. “Nevermind,” I thought, “I don’t want to go through the training again. Whatevs.” So I get out my cell again and tried that-nothing happens. I kept telling myself to wait. DO NOT CLICK ANY BUTTONS. That is super hard for an A-D-D computer geek. BAM-somehow at six minutes after I tried, I was in. NO, not on the waitlist, but SIGNED UP! Not one single person even knew this had happened. I was in a bit of shock and fear. But from that very moment, my depression slowly lifted and I had a new surge of interest and laser focus. I had a new goal in front of me that got my juices flowing. I got up off the couch and dusted off my trail shoes. I told my dogs they would be a part of my training and I went looking for a race they could run with me. I am not quite sure when this was but sometime in December.

The next day I called Carlton Davidson, Ryan Clemmer, Caleb Baybayon, and Matthew Clover. Carlton, Caleb, and Ryan immediately said yes. Matthew had another obligation. I was set. I was on a quest to get that sub-24-hour buckle. I immediately signed up for the Peterson Ridge Rumble 20 miler with Maizie and Rennie. (photo cred: Paul Nelson)

In April and the SOB 50 miler in July. I kept up my running up from the 30 miler End to End. I made it out to Tillamook Fatass and ran 20 miles on some amazing trails in January. Jeremy Long and Daybreak Racing put on a nice event as well as several others.

Falls Creek Falls trails and lava caves were just nuts.  Even ran the original Eagle Creek Trail in Estacada.

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The real “Eagle Creek Trail”

The theme all year will be new trails and new places to explore which meant meeting new people. In a three week span in April-I climbed Mt. Hood 3 times.

Every day I woke up thinking about the effort needed to get that sub-24-hour buckle. I made it out to #Permacamp near Prineville Reservoir and put in about 4-5 total days of some grueling workouts. I thoroughly enjoyed the Ochoco’s and the jeep trails around the reservoir. My friends Lacey and Jeff provided excellent room and board. Jeff added a 20 amp plug to his power pole so I could park my trailer and have full power. Their hospitality was excellent. I am sure they think I always run for 6 hours a day. I won’t let them know that some of my longest runs of the year happened while at #Permacamp over in Eastern Oregon.

 

I made it back up to Summer Solstice. Love that place. Bob Baker revived the Fatass and I never want to miss that race. All year I met some amazing trail folk and kept running into the same trail folk. Bells Mountain trail was a super cool new trail to me.  NW Dirt Churners put on that group run. They have a wealth of info on their website. I ran with Shane Darden from NW Dirt Churners seemed like every group run or race. I enjoyed giving Shane a high five during the race at Clackamas and telling him that Jason Fedchak was right behind me and for him to be ready to pace. Turns out that Jason had taken a bad fall and cracked some ribs. I felt terrible at hearing this news as he and I ran a ton together this year and he always was rocking down the trail. I actually found a nice run on the pct from the website.  I ran a section of the PCT to Three Corner Rock with my running mentor which was nice b/c that had not happened in quite some time.

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Three Corner Rock, PCT Washington

I also ran with the Clovers on the roads, trails, and seemed like everywhere in between. Thanks to Matthew for those weekly runs.  Thanks to Jameson for the good times on the bells mountain trail. I also recruited a new physical therapist. Dr. Kaluza

The man himself "Dr. Karl Kaluza"

Dr. Karl Kaluza-single handily the most influential person in my life

suggested I see Helen Mcdevitt over at Rebound MODA CENTER. WOW. Let’s just say that I would have to taper three days prior to arriving at the clinic. She absolutely crushed me. Each time I left felt like someone kicked me in the ass with steel-toed boots. I would be sore for days afterward. I went for 2-3 months in the Spring/Summer and again for a few weeks in the fall. If you recall, last year I got the PRP shot in my high hamstring but towards the end of the year, I was not able to sit again. So this year Dr. Kaluza suggested I go with the Amniofix shot on the hammy. With the intense PT and the shot-I am finally able to sit pain-free!

My 50-mile race in July was canceled due to air quality. The month of July was brutal for the entire state. I ran many days with an AQI (air quality index) of 180… brutal.  So I had five days to plan an alternative. Hmm, who do I know that can run 64 miles with me through the mountains? Caleb? bam. I then went to work and found a great route. I ended up using the route that Christof Teuscher put together called the Wy Cool 100k.  Do yourself a favor and do a google search of Christof Teuscher.

 

This was a super enjoyable suffer fest. Gained 10,000′ in the first 26 miles. Ended the day with 64 miles and something like 14,000′ of climbing. We ran on the same trail where the cougar killed the hiker and saw the upper Salmon River gorge that only a few have ventured to. My kids and family created two aid stations and that was a blast for me!

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Gioia running the aid station

I felt like all systems were firing and not only could I get sub 24 but maybe 22 hours!

My last big training run of the year I got recruited by Dan Moehler. He is an animal but I felt up to his challenge. His plan: circumnavigate Hood. Well, we did just that. 12 total hours, 43 miles and something like 12000 feet. We both suffered beautifully but enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Last year, I believe I coasted to the start. I tapered too early and didn’t push myself hard enough. So this year I had my running mentor help me put together a seven-week plan leading up to the race. 60, 70, 40, 60, 50, 35, 6 those would be my total miles per week. Bam-pulled it off perfectly. Still, zero injuries in 2018 and had not let off the gas since December. I failed to mention my fourth place finish and PR at the Happy Valley Fun run 10k, a second place finish at Summer Solstice 50k and a few other adventures such as a 20-mile jaunt around Happy Valley to name a few. I am believing I am ready to run 100 miles again.

This year I didn’t look at the race info. I didn’t read the race info and otherwise didn’t do anything that I normally would. I was only worried about four minutes. I was determined to make up time in aid stations and a few key hills along the way and nothing else mattered- and that last 3.5 miles-I would conquer. Anything else was simply a distraction. Some of this thinking would cause some issues later during the weekend.

Race day was fast approaching. I made a switch about two weeks out on my pacer for the lake. Caleb was running a 100-mile race the week before and Heidi was willing and wanting to join in on the fun. So I was all set. I had all my gear, crew, pacers, and ready to get that monkey off my back. I took one last look at my finish photo by Teri Smith IMG_3509sitting on my dresser and loaded up my dog and stuff.  Off I went to Olallie Lake.  For 365 days I left my Facebook profile my Mountain Lakes finish photo and also left the photo sitting on my dresser so I would see it every single day. I would force myself to look at “defeat” and rub my nose in FOUR MINUTES. I never set out to race last year and never imagined a sub-24-hour finish. Why am I so obsessed? No idea but to say I was obsessed would be an understatement. Every run, every race, every workout was geared to push a little harder and work a little harder than last year.

This year the lead up to the race was as chill as ever. Forest fires and snow was out of the question and clean air to breath was certain. What was not certain was the rain and temps. Regardless, my emotions were so much more relaxed. I had all the “unknowns” out of the way. I had all the “course questions” out of the way. I created a quick pace chart for my crew based upon a 23-hour finish. I arrived up at Ollalie Lake on Wednesday evening. IMG_3703.jpgAs I stated in my last blog, my mind travels to a space that all I can think about is the race. I am worthless at work and for sure even more worthless at home. Being away from distractions is always best for me. Plus it literally takes me two days to narrow down and zero in on my gear based upon ACTUAL MOUNTAIN conditions. So peaceful at Ollalie. Every time I arrive my first thought is Kent Witherspoon. Damn him. Please take care of your friends struggling with mental health and/or chemical dependence.

Carlton arrived Friday at 3 pm. We went over all the gear and my race strategy.  The cliff note version: Haul ass through aid stations, and swap packs at mile 26. We headed over to the pasta feed and bib pickup. We slammed some food and headed back to camp. The rain was slowly starting to fall from the sky. We made one last walk over to the boat dock and took in Mt. Jefferson and surrounding views. Bedtime was 9 pm!

 

The alarm went off at 4:55 am and I immediately went to work on bacon and eggs and my 12-ounce coke. I quit coke earlier in the week to maximize the effects of caffeine. I double checked my drop bags and we took off to the start to get a good parking spot. We parked right near the start and Carlton set up the awning as the start/finish was also aid station 4. I was even mentally able to help Carlton set up his tent. At one point, I even told him to relax and I would help him. He simply said, “Wow you are not as freaked out like last year.” :).  The rain was falling and the gun was fixing to go off. We received the last minute racer instructions and bam off we went. Last year I cried for a good 10 minutes after the start. This year, tears only lasted a few seconds.

Cruised up to the first aid station. I love this section as we run by Horseshoe Lake and several other lakes. This aid station is actually one of our high points. This aid station was dialed in.  I have been coming to Ollallie Lake Scenic area for well over 25 years and have some fantastic memories of this road. Watching Chris Lefevre jump his “Scout” or Brad Hayes going straight up a mountain and thru a snow bank. These are the thoughts that help me click off miles.  First aid station I simply filled up my 16-ounce bottle with COKE and my 6-ounce cup with water and off I went. UH OH, OH NO… my stomach. mile 8-poo stop #1. Immediate attitude and hateful thoughts began to creep. Now I was worried about chaffing. Voila, I had squirrels nut butter in my pack and used that but not before I had to use a good sock for TP. This section of the course was closed due to fires last year. So this year, it was like running to Walmart down the Forest Road. Three sub 9 miles in a row. At mile 11 we had crew access and it was great to see Carlton and Rennie.  I poured myself a 12-ounce coke and off I went. Ran down the road a mile before we started the 3-4,000 foot climb back up to the aid station. (photo cred Paul Nelson)IMG_3813We climb up a washout ravine for a while and the new trail sections that Go Beyond Racing repaired worked out great. I had a congo line of about 5 people behind me that never wanted to pass. I was told I had a great pace. Once we crested the top we had an out and back where you get to see some of the leaders. Once we arrived at aid station 3 (formally 1) Some dude was sitting in a chair with a nice gash and goose egg on his head. pouring blood so the race was ON for sure. I had 4-5 miles to the next aid station. I told you I didn’t keep tabs on the race distances and elevation and the such this go around. All about getting in and out of aid stations. I finally arrived back at Olallie lake cabin at mile 26 and really started to rain. I had a hot spot on the bottom of my foot that needed attention. I made the catastrophic mistake of wearing compression socks. I couldn’t get them off by myself and Carlton could barely do it. My quads only cramped a few times during this 25-minute debacle.

After swapping packs, full clothes swap, shoes, and socks, off I went. I made it to the next aid station and chit chatted with Eric Lubell and Nils and Jared I believe. They remembered me and of course asked me about four minutes. They wished me well and said they would see me at mile 96. At this point, I put in my headphones and jammed out the next 30 miles. I went in and out of aid stations. Not as fast as last year, but made up time through this section. I cramped up leaving the aid station at mile 30. went into the next aid at mile 37 and had another poo #3. My butt crack really started to hurt even though I was applying lubricant. I left this aid station in a full body seizure. My attitude really sucked and running with “wolves at my heals” was really starting to take its toll. It was at this point in the race 37 miles 7-8 hours in that I HAD TO WALK and use my 30 years of experience to dig deep and pay fucking attention to my body. I didn’t get very far through my checklist –CAFFEINE!!!! Because I put so much pressure on myself to get in and out of aid stations, I over-caffeinated. I never had another drop of caffeine. However, I ran with flexed quads for the next 63 miles and all I had to show for it was a shitty attitude.

 

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Skout 125

 

My quick win goal for this section was run up the massive mountain from the river up to Red Wolf, mission accomplished. My other quick win was getting into Clackamas without the use of a light which means I was ahead of my schedule. I ended up using a small handlight for shadows but made my goal. I arrived at Olallie about 1.5 hours sooner than last year. I rolled into mile 55 and met my pacer Heidi for the very first time! She was happy to see me and I immediately had to let her know I am a bigger ass than they warned you about and I am grumpy, and hurt, and have a massive blister.IMG_3731 so ignore me.  I also saw Caleb and my annual meeting with Ryan Clemmer out in the woods. They got me in and out and off I went. Full clothes swap but left shoes and socks on to make up for lost time back at Olallie.

Heidi and I started out well. We immediately began to pass people which is always nice.  We also played leap frog with a few folks. it took us a few miles to get a rhythm.  Finally, we put “shiny blue pants” in front. Never really seeing her face, I only saw her pack, headlamp light, and blue shiny tights. So in my self-hatred state, I went with the nickname “shiny blue pants.” She was tripping and having confidence issues with the trail. I loaned her my Ledlenser hand light and she did great. She was always trying to encourage me, chat with me, and otherwise make me feel like a king.  She was asking a lot of questions about “how do I do it?” At the time I didn’t have a single answer. She asked me if I have a Mantra? My initial response was no. Thinking more about that question, I believe what I do is visualize my previous times in the area or on the trail. I have vivid photographic memories of places. Doing this helps me click off even more miles at a time. “Runners high.” We rolled into the Little Crater Lake aid station and Yassine demanded a hug from both of us. Heck, the man just competed in Badwater. Better get a good luck hug. *This aid station was a bit of a mess and didn’t have broth ready and sure didn’t make it hot nor strong, 😦  but off we went. My priority this year was to get in and get out! Last year I had to put on a massive jacket-hike, then take it off, and then run. I avoided that scenario this year by better gear and warmer temps; rain, but warmer.IMG_1588

We kept running around the lake (total of 16 miles) and she kept pointing out the lake, moon, and stars. I would basically get nauseous every time she had me look at the lake. This year, I couldn’t enjoy anything. FOUR MINUTES! at this point is where I spent a lot of time trying to go pee but nothing would happen. I would see the lights come up behind me so off I would go. No telling how much time this would cost me but not sure if it was my body asking for a break or what the issue was… stage fright for sure. We finally made it to the dam aid station with all the lights and whiskey and fire. *This aid station was also a hot mess and I finally left. Heidi caught up to me and brought me some half-filled cold diluted bottles of broth. Not her fault, she waited as long as possible.  I know this stuff was frustrating Heidi. I didn’t know her at all but I could tell she was passionate and I could tell she was really looking out for me. This made me feel warm, cozy and happy inside. I was just not able to communicate that. My quads and booty hurt! I also had two sore toes from playing kickball with a few rocks. I kicked a few more and would SCREAM AS LOUD AS I COULD. I kept running but had no other means of releasing this pain. I am sure Heidi’s ear still hurts. She would ask me what was wrong or if I was okay and all I could do is keep running and ignore the questions. Eventually, she understood and each time after, we would just keep running and carry on like I never had a temper tantrum. She was a rock star.

This next section was a bitch. Mainly uphill to Clackamas Guard station. My focus was to run. last year, the 1st place female crushed me as did a few others. So I was determined to run this damn thing, accomplished.  We had a minor issue when shiny blue pants tripped, recovered, but ultimately crashed, cut her pants, blood rolling down, the whole nine yards. All I could do is shuffle past and tell her to chill out, take a break, and catch back up to me. She immediately got right back out in front and didn’t even skip a beat. I rolled into mile 70 and did a full “garage sale”. All clothes, shoes, and socks off. Put on my Altra Lone Peak 4 shoes and those damn compression socks and about five(actually three) shirts, three buffs, gloves with mittens, some hand warmers and off I went. I was using Tailwind all day and once again that stuff is the bomb. I was not eating anything else besides PPJ and tailwind. Caleb brought me some bacon and damn, that tasted good. Ryan brought me bacon along the way as well. hats off to bacon! oh, did I mention blister! boy, it was a beaut. As I type this the big toenail is working hard at poking out the back of the cuticle.

Ryan was amazing. He was jazzed up. Last year I was euphoric for our entire run around the lake. Laughing, smiling, high fives, giggles, and the such. This year he hit me with his first question about 3 minutes in, “So tell me about Caleb”? “um uh, eh, oh, Hey Ryan, Sorry man I can’t talk.” I hurt. It sucks, and I am not having a good time. By this point, he tells me I am still about 1.5 hours ahead of last year. My entire focus on this section was to run the entire section from the river up to the aid station. accomplished. This aid station was the bomb! They had glow sticks, Hawaiian themes, and all the fixings.  I saw hamburgers and more. At one point, I screamed that all I wanted was hot STRONG Broth. I left the aid station and began the quick climb up. I was able to oversee the entire aid station. Ryan QUICKLY brought me broth and I yelled F%$#CK YEA HOT STRONG BROTH! AID STATION WINNER! all the other runners clapped and yelled out loud in agreement. Again really hands down the best aid station by far. Warm Springs Aid Station was AMAZING!

Off we went. We had roughly 7.5 miles to get to Pinheads. At one point, my stomach was killing me and poo #4 was coming quick. I told Ryan I had to stop and he told me we had 25 minutes more. We argued back and forth but within like two minutes we saw the aid station. This aid station was essentially sound asleep. We didn’t hear them at all, they were all huddled around the fire.  I actually asked them if it was Church. We convinced the medic to turn on the heat in the tent. I went out into the woods and Ryan finally spent some time on HIM. I came back from the woods and asked Ryan if my vest was ready to go and he was barely finishing up with his stuff. I was coherent enough to hear his voice when he said: “he needed to take care of himself”. He was treating me like a king and I could not complain. quite frankly that was my first time I could relax all day and not worry about 4 minutes.  Off we went. We had 11 miles to go. 22h 15 min was looking promising. But the aid station cost us 25 minutes alone and my quads were really suffering. Last year I ran the race of my life in this section. Not to be today. I managed to will myself up the 5-mile climb in the rain and DENSE FOG.

We could barely see and had to turn on my “fog lights”. This made for some nice discussion. At one point we changed out my battery on my Ledlenser MH10 while I continued to walk down the trail-4 minutes. We continued to pass people. These 7 miles were taking forever. Time was really starting to fly by. During this section, Ryan was really asking me a lot of questions about how I am able to run 100 miles. I mumbled a bunch of words and went back to my pain cave. He also asked me ONE time If I was in a dark hole:) I immediately said no I just hurt all over. Looking back, it was probably one of the darkest holes I have ever been in physically. It was so frustrating. I put in so much work for 12 months. My cramps and diarrhea came back at the wrong time. WHY!! I was so pissed.  looking back, I think I just keep visualizing my previous time on the trail and thinking back to those times and moments shared alone or with friends that help me decompartmentalize the race and make it mentally possible for me. But still hurt nonetheless

Ryan continued to push me hard. He wouldn’t let me walk. We had an awesome system going with my poles. I was using them exclusively to push me when I ran and push me up the hills, and help me get back into a trot. Lots of times they would get jammed in a rock, root, or foot BRIDGE. Instead of stopping, I would simply let go and keep running/walking and before I knew it my pole with the grip end, would be in my hand not even skipping beat-4 minutes. At this point, we finally make it into the last aid station. You could hear this aid station coming up from the bottom of the canyon for miles and miles so to finally arrive was a relief-sounded like a rock concert when a runner would arrive!!!!. Olallie Meadows was my second place aid station:). I ran in and for some unknown reason screamed: 1 fucking 5 fucking 9 and turned and burned. I hood panoheard Eric and Nils yell words of encouragement and off I went. Ryan went into the aid station and then I heard a bunch of commotion. Was I not allowed to turn and burn? hmm, what was wrong I wondered. Eventually, Ryan caught back up with me and he happened to know Nils thus the discussion. This aid station was also where my coworker Adam Karol was manning the HAM radio station. Apparently, I just missed Adam. He arrived two hours early and before he knew it, he was running the entire comm for the race! He was pretty stoked.  He even got the “you are not bad for Ham guy” comment:). Listening to their medical emergency at 2:30 pm on Sunday afternoon was a trip. Adam didn’t get home until like 8 pm. Folks like that make it possible to race and quite frankly keeps me pushing hard not to disappoint the volunteers, crew, and pacers. Doin’ it for them at this point.

Okay- I have 54 minutes to go 3.5 miles(still not convinced how many miles this is) to get sub 23 hours. Ryan was really pushing me hard now. Two dudes were in the aid station for a while and they came blazing out and past us right away. But after a few miles, I caught them.  I was convincing myself that I was running this section faster than last year. If you recall I had 45 minutes to go sub 24 and did it 49 minutes:(.  I past them but they caught on to the sub 23 mantra and tucked right in behind me. I thought it was a pacer/racer duo. Ryan kept yelling at me to swing my arms and the two dudes kept telling me the only reason they were running was b/c I was running and to keep pushing. At this point, I was in full-blown whimper mode. I hurt mentally, physically and running the entire race with wolves at my heals was taking its toll. I wanted to walk and soak it in and enjoy my race. But nope, swing those arms “Hamrick”. Hamrick-you need a tuner. nope, keep swinging those arms. Eventually, I threw my poles to the ground like Forest Gump dropping his leg braces. I was really “sprinting” now. If you look at Strava that means going from 17 min mile to 14-minute mile! Eventually the two dudes past me, the road finally came and I saw my daughter. Two years in a row, this section kicked my butt and was not able to achieve the short-term goal, whatevs.

Quite frankly, I was wanting to run across the finish line with Gioia and Rennie. (photo cred Paul Nelson)IMG_3815Gioia has run across the line with me in my first ever ultra, my first ever 100 and so it’s super special for me to run across the line with her! I had dreamed of adding Rennie to the mix and when I turned the corner and didn’t see Rennie, I was a little bummed. Apparently, she was acting like a Chesapeake and wouldn’t let Ian nor Carlton get her out of the truck:(. Dogs will be dogs.

Gioia and I ran across that finish line and I saw Renee and Todd-the race directors. I don’t remember much but I do remember that hug from RENEE! One of the best hugs I have ever had and one that I will never forget. I gave Ryan a fist pump, hugged Todd, and he gave me my SILVER SUB-24-hour buckle. I did it! I freaking did it!! wowzers. (would take about 3-4 days to sink in)IMG_3730At that moment I collapsed. My quads quit, my calves quit, my mind quit, and I fell into a wet stinky heap. I did it. It felt weird for 24 hours afterward. We pushed so hard for sub 23 that I was honestly having serious mental troubles about accepting my success bc I failed my short-term goal. IMG_3733

I mean, I created a pace chart for a 23-hour race and I ran 23 hours 3 minutes, seriously how is that even possible.  The finish was bittersweet in that the race photographer was apparently asleep. My photo by Terri Smith last year single handily got me out of bed and through the training every day. I was dreaming of what this year’s photo would look like. I made it just before sunrise and perhaps a black and white photo with the steam rising off the lake with Mt. Jefferson in the background hung in my bedroom would be amazing. Oh well, it’s a good thing for photographic memories.  The finish was also bittersweet b/c my new best friend and pacer Heidi and Caleb were nowhere around? hmm. The rain quit, the fog cleared and Mt. Jefferson was out in all her glory.IMG_0873

I eventually made it into the warming tent and Captain Crew Chief Carlton brought me all my dry warm clothes. I quickly changed and ordered a beer and my famous Gary’s Chocolate Milk. I saw a medic and convinced her to come back and drain my hematoma under three toenails. She did an amazing job and can’t say enough about the medics.

An hour or so after the finish my family left and my awesome neighbor Shawn Peterson was here to be my sherpa and crutch. He carried me to the truck and we drove back to the campground. Just before camp, we saw Heidi and Caleb.  Not having maps and race info REALLY CAME BACK TO BITE ME IN THE ASS. Somehow they ended up driving one of the most gnarly forest roads to a campsite in all of Oregon. No idea how they made it up and down. Anyways, Ryan hopped out of the truck and into Heidi’s car and they left. This was hard for me b/c I was in a far better mood and wanting to chat about the race and SAY SORRY FOR BEING AN ASS:).

We got back to camp and Shawn and Caleb were heroes. I convinced them to walk down to the dock and take in all the views. I think they enjoyed that. They packed up my entire camp and eventually got me out of the tent as well b/c sleeping was not happening. I had some severe quad, knee, and toe pain. My knee had a tiny “violin tight string” tendon that had rubbed up and down on my knee. Kaluza fixed that no problem. My quad was and still is something else. I think during the race I kept trying to stretch the quad and all that did was pull the quad. So it feels like someone gave me a dead leg. My toenails are hanging in there. I will lose at least four nails. I attribute two of the nails to compression socks. I will never ever wear those again. Only for recovery or airline flights. They were too difficult to get on and off and they cramped my toes more than normal.

During the race, I mentally was miserable compared to last year. But after the race last year I was mentally confused and depressed. I had spent at least four years trying to run the 100-mile distance and once I completed it I honestly didn’t know what to do. It was sort of like a recovering alcoholic on finding new ways to “spend their time.” I couldn’t find anything satisfying to me or motivating to me to stay in shape.

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Caleb looking at Mt Jefferson

So I just sat around and got fat. This year, my mental state is night and day for the better. If I had my choice, I would rather be happy during and after the race. So 2019 regardless if I race, will be about having fun and not “racing.” I had my best adventures last year with friends doing crazy things b/c we wanted to. No start time, no finish time, no cutoff-just us and the mountain. I remember talking with Ryan on Monday and he single-handily talked me out of my negative thoughts of my 23:03 and from that day on I was stoked. I also had to walk down my driveway on Monday and that moment I finally realized that I did put in the training and was stronger than last year. I was able to walk down the driveway without collapsing and without the use of poles. yes!

But 2018 is not done yet. In November I go to Disneyworld for the Half Marathon/10k challenge for Kim’s 50th birthday party. The entire family will be running at some point so looking forward to that. I have plans to head back to Tennessee and complete my second Lookout Mountain 50 miler in December and visit with my uncle Wynne, Aunt Trish and family. My dad just had some cancer removed and want to be able to hang out with him and PAPA!! Yes, Papa is 92 and still playing golf and going to Florida.

I can’t thank Carlton, Heidi, Ryan, Shawn, Caleb, and Kim ENOUGH for giving up their weekend to allow me to chase my dream. Kim also manned the fort for many many weekends on end. Eternally grateful for her help. She was only worried one time when I was six hours late on a run. I am 100% satisfied with my accomplishment and for that, I can now get some sleep and no longer wonder about “will I get that sub 24 buckle?” I want to continue to adventure and perhaps that means another 100, I am not sure.

Stay tuned and thanks for following along. The journey called life is one I truly enjoy. Life is short, play hard. Remember one thing: Dreams take work, goals take work. One can accomplish anything with a plan and a little help from your friends. From 24 hours 4 minutes in 2017 to 23 hours 3 minutes in 2018. As Reneerace director said “MAGICAL!”I can promise you I was not hanging out in the bushes waiting for the clock to turn 23:03 but perhaps that was a fitting end to 365 days of 110% effort to get that silver buckle. What will you do to get that monkey off your back in 2019?IMG_3735

 

2018 stats:

  • 34 bottles of Gary’s chocolate milk and returned 33 bottles for deposit. (one broke)IMG_1922
  • 1,607 miles ran since October 2017
  • averaged 30 miles a week for 10 months
  • 291 hours of running and 53 hours of cycling
  • 202,267 vertical feel climbed
  • 184,577 calories burned
  • 233 miles ran in July for my most ever
  • climbed Mt Hood three times in less than two weeks
  • Six pairs of trail shoes-Altras.
  • Two road shoes-Ons
  • 104 hours of Physical therapy
  • 2 runs>40 miles; 2 runs>30 miles and 8 runs>20 miles
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    FUEL!

https://www.strava.com/activities/1862192815/overview

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3038905302

https://www.relive.cc/view/1862192815

*Go Beyond Racing (GBR) crushed the race. My feedback on a few of the aid stations was from a certain moment in time when I was also in severe pain. My opinion does not indicate that the aid stations were not dialed in. I have only run a 100 miles twice and both times with GBR. I would have never ever attempted my first 100-mile race with anyone other than Todd and Renee. I know they personally have my well being in their hands and will ensure I am safe throughout the entire race. Strongly encourage all their races.