Buckle UP! Yeti 100 Race Recap!

Yeti Ready…Lets Roll!

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Taylors Valley Aid Station mile 56…Keeping my eye on the PRIZE!

The instant I saw the Yeti 100 Endurance run pop up in my Facebook Feed, I knew the Yeti was going to be my first 100 miler.  I was elated, and felt the “running Gods” dropped it in my lap.  It was definitely meant to be. (backstory on how this went down)  Hosted by Yeti Trail Runners,  on the the Virginia Creeper Trail, one of my favorite places, it was the PERFECT setting.  If you are going to be physically  and mentally taxing yourself you might as well do it in a place you find enjoyable. The handmade Buckle…OMG!

I met Jason Green, RD and founder of Yeti Trail Runners, at Grayson Highlands Half/50K. What a genuine guy who greeted me with a bear hug and encouraging words for my first 100 miler!

I met Jason Green, RD and founder of Yeti Trail Runners, at Grayson Highlands Half/50K. April 2016. What a genuine guy who greeted me with a bear hug and encouraging words for my first 100 miler! This was my first of many hugs from this guy!  Awesome pod cast on how he started Yeti Trail Runners and his unique approach to the ultra running scene. Meet Jason Green, Ultra RunnerPodcast.com

I had 10 months to prepare, I was 100% committed to make it happen.  Those who know me, will attest, it’s all or nothing with me. Before I could get started, I had a couple of things I need to address.

100 Mile Preparation…these all contributed to successful Race Day!

Training plan– No brainer for me as I have relied on the information and plans in  Bryon Powell’s book- Relentless Forward Progress, A Guide to Running Ultramarathons since I ventured into the ultra running world.  I have worn this book out and highly recommend it for anyone considering ultras.  I love that fact the book, provides several options for plans and makes suggestions for adaptations.  I initially was going to do the 70 mile per week plan, but came to my senses that with a full time job, husband, and kids this was not going to work. I settled on the 50 mile, 26 week plan.  I ran 5 days a week, and cross trained with Cross fit and Yoga one day a week.  In previous training plans, I was able to successfully maintain 2-3 days of Cross fit.  It became obvious very quickly, that one day of Cross fit was all that I could manage.  I added yoga in the final two months and love it! I stayed consistent with my training plan. Some weeks were better than others.  I really focused on back to back runs and this proved very helpful. The best part about high mileage is building in races into your training.  Long training runs with support are awesome.  My highest weekly mileage was 55 miles.

Wheezing– My running buddy Kmac, who happens to be a Physicians Assistant, had been telling me for several years that I wheeze when I run.  I did not notice during my runs, only post run chest tightness and smoker type cough. It was so minor I did not make it a priority.  It wasn’t until my first run after a 6 week illness at the end of 2016 that I realized I could not breathe.  I had to bail my run.  Kmac was right.(she is always right :)…really she is).  My general practitioner diagnosed me with exercise induced asthma. She hooked me up with an inhaler and eventually a daily prescription for singular. Wow! what a difference it made!

Failed run Selfie with #internetfriends Anj and Todd!

Failed run Selfie with #internetfriends Anj and Todd!

Weight– I had not weighed myself in several years. Like most women, I hated the number I see and go by the way I feel.  I  knew I had put on some pounds after starting Cross fit but attributed that to muscle.  While much of it was muscle, a lot of it was not.  It really became evident to me when I saw my post 75 mile finish line pic.  Wow! I was healthy in more ways than one. I was eating healthy, but my portion control needing reigning in.  I joined a Macro Wellness challenge at Cross fit, tracked my food intake in My Fitness Pal app and dropped 18lbs.  I was feeling great, eating right, and running faster than ever! Amazing what dropping a few punds will do for your running.  It also helped I could breathe.

Pacing Umstead 100– I was so honored to be part of Jenica and Janet’s first 100 mile at Umstead.  Jenica and Janet, both from Portland, OR, crushed the Umstead with sub 24’s.  I was so honored to be part of their journey and it was so great for me to witness my first 100 mile race.  I paced Jenica for her final 25 miles.  She was happy as could be and it was so awesome getting to know her over our 6 hours together.  I learned from her to zip thru the aid stations, eat on the go, and to walk fast as hell.  I can honestly say this experience helped me greatly!  Love you girls!

Umstead 100! The happy finishers Jenica and Janet with Happy pacers, Myself and Carol!

Umstead 100! The happy finishers Jenica and Janet with Happy pacers, Myself and Carol!

Gear Adjustments– Outside of shoes, my only major gear purchases were the new Garmin 230 (I wanted the auto sync to my phone), Petzl Tikka RXP headlamp ( I had Lumen envy at my last 24 hour race) , and Ultra Vesta, Ultimate Direction hydration pack.  My Nathan vest had served me well but I really wanted more hydration options and storage.  The vest is made for women and has many adjustments. It was weird at first but I have come to love it.  The body bottles are the best!

Best feature of my new Garmin was the customization countdown face. Also note my All things are possible bracelet from my sweet friend Erin and my Mothers day bangle from the kids with my ultra progression distances on it

Best feature of my new Garmin was the customization countdown face. Also note my All things are possible bracelet from my sweet friend Erin and my Mothers day bangle from the kids with my ultra progression distances on it (42.6, 63.4, 75.7)

Love this headlamp, with rechargeable battery packs. But I cannot lie, I taxes my brain so I had to create a cheat sheet label inside the band.

Love this headlamp, with rechargeable battery packs. But I cannot lie, I taxes my brain so I had to create a cheat sheet label inside the band.

Running Nutrition– I had long given up on gels…NASTY! I relied on real food, Nuun, and S caps.  After reading up on benefits of Tailwind Nutrition, I gave it a try. It  worked great for me. So easy and fast to get our the door.  Like any hydration supplement, you do tire of it but it is worth avoiding “gut” issues.  My preference is for the naked,unflavored.

My tailwind hack- Making Tailwind ice cubs for my hydration pack prevented watered down nutrition. This proved to be very beneficial and easy to do!

My tailwind hack- Making Tailwind ice cubs for my hydration pack prevented watered down nutrition. This proved to be very beneficial and easy to do!

Feet– My sister, Amy, said to me after my first successful ultra, “If you are going to keep up running this distance, you have to do something about your feet”  She was right!  I will spare you the photos.  Trust me, when I say my feet/toes were slayed.  Hence, started my 3 year foot wellness journey with the help of John Vonhof’s book, now in the 6th edition, Fixing Your Feet!  I have ready every page of this book and continue to reference it regularly.  I am amazed at the number of people who ignore preventative foot care. Your feet have to be healthy to carry you the distance, why do people ignore them?  I guess my feet issues early on, set me down the right path. My friend Anj nicknamed me #BlisterSister the blister whisper.  It makes me laugh…I am happy to share my foot/blister care input with anyone.  My claim is…I read the foot book so nobody else has to!  I found the REAL blister sister at Blister Prevention.  Rebecca is all things foot care.  I reached out to her with some questions via email and she was quick to respond.  Check her out!

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Pre- foot care, out of my foot care container,  Yeti 100 Training run captured by @AnjWiley

Feet…My final Foot Plan– My foot care journey continued well into my training.  After three years, I felt like I had finally nailed it.  Feet issues were not going to stop me from crossing the finish line.  I am happy to report, post 100 miler, my feet were in the best shape of my running journey! Whoo hooo!  What worked for me:  injinji toe socks ( fresh pairs at miles 17.9, 48.9); Dirty Girl Gaiterstransition to Altra ( Olympus, Torin) from my previously coveted Hokas; Kinesio Tape ( taped my feet and toes night before); Superfeet Berry; and ENGO blister patches on my insoles and inside of my shoes.  I had one minor blister I felt within the first 17 miles, while wearing my Hoka Challengers(17.9 miles). I took a huge risk switching shoes two months prior to my race, but totally worth it!  I am now an Altra convert with a large collection of Hoka’s.

Altra Love on Raleigh Greenway!

Altra Love on Raleigh Greenway!

 Race day run plan– I procrastinated the shit out of pulling this together but in the end I am so glad that I did! Early on, running Friends Anj and Fred said they wanted to pace me!  I was blown away with their support  and willingness to take on this monumental task.  Of course my sister Amy was going to pace, but how far, was the question.  With pacers queued up, a plan for 4:2 run walk segments,  I built a very detailed google spreadsheet for my pacers and crew.(I had a relapse of OCD)  The spreadsheet had links to everything we needed for the weekend but most importantly my mile by mile plan, pace estimates, crew instructions, directions, etc. I am very happy to share for anyone who is interested.

Rolling aid station for my crew. Everything was labeled and in containers ( OCD relapse)

Rolling aid station for my crew. Everything was labeled and in containers ( OCD relapse)

I was fortunate to have covered over 88 miles of training runs on the creeper in preparation so I had some solid pace data to work with.

Yeti 50k Training run June 2016

Yeti 50k Training run June 2016.  Whitetop to Abingdon

Hubs, Dan, crewed me on my solo 50 mile training run that ended up being 55 miles. Thanksfully not 60, thanks to Randy Road Angel. Abingdon to Whitetop and back to Damascus. Aug 2016

Aug 2016 Hubs, Dan, crewed me on my solo 50 mile training run that ended up being 55 miles. Thankfully not 60, thanks to Randy Road Angel. Small navigation error during runner bliss!  Abingdon to Whitetop and back to Damascus.

Intimately knowing the course proved to be a huge mental booster for me. While I know this is not always possible. I will certainly make this effort for future races.  I love every aspect of the Creeper Trail, I will never tire of it, and this went a long way on race day. Love where you run!

Orthopedic Visit/PT– Four weeks prior to race day my right knee started a sharp pain on the inside of my knee cap. WTF? I had come way too far to have my race de-railed with three weeks to go.  I took a week off, but the pain persisted.  The pain was manageable but the unknown of it stressed me the F*&^% out. Dr. Google was no help, so  I hesitantly made an ortho appointment. In my 7 years of running, this was my first trip to the Dr. for running related pain.  Long story short, he said you can run, back off, and lets do three weeks of PT. If you still have pain we will give you a cortisone shot.

First day of PT, I was diagnosed with tight quad muscle. I was elated to know the cause! I was given a series of daily stretching exercises and we taped my knee.  I felt relief immediately! It was not gone but got significantly better each run.  I got my final taping the day before the race.  Race day..I felt no pain! Wow! Or I mentally willed it away! Crisis avoided! I am now a firm believer in stretching and PT! Thank you Cary Orthopedic!

This Rock Tape made me happy! I love my PT picked it out for me:)

This Rock Tape made me happy! I love my PT picked it out for me:)

Finally…Race Day…I am certain time stood still 3 weeks prior. I was excited, anxious, and ready. It was the first time in my life I felt the taper crazies and second guessed all my training and if I was tapering correctly.

Hubs, Dan, and our Boxers Lucy and Potter, drove me to the 5:45am race shuttle.

Hubs, Dan, and our Boxers Lucy and Potter, drove me to the 5:45am race shuttle.

Familar faces at Whitetop! Clay and John!

Familiar faces at Whitetop! Clay and John!

7:00 am, Jason sent us off with “Go have a F$%^ing good time”.  I settled into my 4:2 segments right from the start.  The 17.9 miles of gradual downhill is a great way to start a race but will eventually slay if you  don’t hold back. I was relaxed, the weather was a perfect 50 degrees, and life was good!

Anderson, Dan, and the Boxers greeted me just outside of Damascus

Anderson,my son, Dan, and the Boxers greeted me just outside of Damascus.  litter blurry but we were moving 🙂

I was about 45 minutes ahead of my scheduled arrival in Damascus. I quickly hit the Damascus aid station for a sock and change out of my Hokas into my Altras. I had been feeling my right pinkie toe for about two hours and was really looking forward to a shoe change.

Only minor blister post 100 miles. This toe was taped!

Only minor blister post 100 miles. This toe was taped! Yes…my toes are not pretty.  No shame!

My “Crew” was very busy while I was running repairing for my arrival.

My DAD is coloring! OMG!

My DAD is coloring! OMG! My Mom must have been on Facebook 🙂

Laury, my sister, and Madeyn, my daughter.

Laury, my sister, and Madeyn, my daughter.

Chalk Art...I love this picture! It also captures the crazy outfit Laury had on that I pondered on my run. What the heck was she wearing? hehe

Chalk Art…I love this picture! It also captures the crazy outfit Laury had on that I pondered on my run. What the heck was she wearing? hehe

Mile 17.9, New Tailwind bladder, body bottle of water, Turkey Avocado Wrap, Perrier, and chips to go. Surprise addition to my Crew with the addition of my Aunt Sally who drove up from Boone.

Mile 17.9, New Tailwind bladder, body bottle of water, Turkey Avocado Wrap, Perrier, and chips to go. Surprise addition to my Crew with the addition of my Aunt Sally who drove up from Boone.

I was off and my next stop was end of the first lap in Abingdon, mile 33.4.I arrived 45 minutes ahead of schedule in Abingdon. I easily spotted my crew and had to yell from the trail to get their attention. My already large crew grew again with the addition of Cynthia, Fred,  and my Cousin Erin and her two kids.  I had never met my cousins kids and had not seen Erin in three years. I had no idea she was coming!  It was so nice of them to drive 3 hours to cheer me on.  Wow!  I was feeling great!  Seeing my family and friends just energized me more.

Surprise visit from my cousin Erin and her precious kids!

Surprise visit from my cousin Erin and her precious kids!

Fred, Pacer #2, Cynthia and Ang , Pacer #1.

Fred, Pacer #2, Cynthia and Ang , Pacer #1.

 

My Family! and Anj! Wow!

My Family! and Anj! Wow!  Anj and I met on twitter so we like to say this is Anj and her #internetfamily

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Hugs from RD, Jason!  Seriously…what is not to love about this guy!

Happy, Happy, Happy! I was having social hour as the poor Yeti volunteered refreshed my water bladder.

Happy, Happy, Happy! I was having social hour as the poor Yeti volunteered refreshed my water bladder.  It was crazy with all the cameras in my face.  Famous for a day!

The "J" shield. This was my favorite sign!

The “J” shield. This was my favorite sign! Oh and freshly manicured nails…certain they made me run faster:)

Lap 1 down…2 to go.  Next time I was in Abingdon, I would be crossing the finish line!  I refilled my bladder with tailwind and water, popped some motrin and was off!  The sun finally peaked out around 3:00.  We had been under cloud cover all day. The temps were still great and it was good to see the sun.

I came up on Brad and razzed him for walking and had him join me in my 4:2 segments.  It was nice to have company and he entertained me with all his crazy running adventures. Just when I thought he had told me the craziest thing I had ever heard he topped it. Thanks Brad for the entertainment!  I regret not getting a picture with Brad at the finish line. He finished 20+ min ahead of me.  At the finish, he thanked me and said I inspired him to finish the race. WOW!  After we parted ways, he programed the 4:2 segments into his phone and finished.  Seriously……knowing I helped him in such a small way is priceless. Ditto BRAD!

Running into Damascus with Brad! Thanks Brad for sharing some miles.

Running into Damascus with Brad! Thanks Brad for sharing some miles.  Cynthia and Fred, greeted us at the Damascus park.  They were waving and yelling.  I was in such a zone I did not realize it was for me until I practically ran them over.  In the zone!  

I arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule.  Still feeling great and was excited to pick up my first pacer Anj.  We had only texted the past few weeks so we had lots of catching up to do.  As Amy loaded in a new Tailwind bladder into my pack, I ate some twix bites and chugged a Perrier and coke.  I was growing tired of the naked Tailwind so the Perrier and coke tasted great.  I grabbed my turkey & avocado wrap, chips to go,  and we were off.

Mile 48.9, Pacer #1- BQ Anj!

Mile 48.9, Pacer #1- BQ Anj!

Before we headed uphill to Whitetop, I hit the aid station to .put on dry clothes and a final sock and shoe change.  I knew it was going to get cold and I wanted to make sure the majority of my clothes were dry.

My only time sitting was when I changed my shoes.

My only time sitting was when I changed my shoes.  I look like I am sleeping!

I was still warm so I put on dry clothes and stuffed my Yeti Wool shirt, gloves, and vest in my hydration pack. I am amazed at how much stuff I can cram in the back pocket and bungee.  I changed into my Altra Olympus..by far my favorite Altras.  They are really wide in the toe box and make my feet very happy.  My feet were holding up really well and I was thrilled.  We walked while I ate my turkey wrap then we hit the 4:2 segments up to Whitetop.

Photo opp in Taylors Valley

Photo opp in Taylors Valley

As the sun started going down, I started to get cold. I put on my yeti wood shirt and gloves.  It was so glad I had them.

It was about this time that Anj and I came upon the “Creeper Kids”.  Two “children of the trail” who were somewhere between 5-7 years old. They zoomed passed us on their bikes cutting us off.  I was paranoid they were going to plow me over.  They said the only people who could go fast on “their trail” were bikers.  With one eye covered, we cautiously watched their bike tricks. I went in total mom mode and advised one of the boys doing bike tricks in cowboy boots was probably not a good idea. I envisioned this kid was going to crack open his skull and we were going to have to take care of him.  That was not the reason I wanted to DNF.  They then proceeded to zoom past us beyond our sight and jump out of the woods to scare us.  OMG, we  were being terrorized by “children of trail”.

We thought we were living a scene from the Goonies with a few less kids!

We thought we were living a scene from the Goonies with a few less kids!

At this point it was really starting to get dark.  They were running beside us trying to find their fort.  Anj said, ” Can you go past this trestle?” Thinking perhaps they had limits.  They quickly responded they could do whatever they wanted and said “let them come look for us”.  How in the heck were we going to lose these kids who had no flashlights…only a pocket knife.  We were totally entertained and a little freaked out. We decided we had to lose them.  We took off at a faster pace, not looking back, and finally we lost them.  It was so freaking funny.  At this point it was pitch black.

We continued our 4:2 segments up to whitetop.  The incline, while not too bad, definitely slowed my roll with 50+ miles on my feet.  We were encouraged by the runners headed back down the mountain at how fast their pace was. That was something to look forward to.  We hit Whitetop, about 15 minutes ahead of Schedule around 10pm.  I was in need of Motrin ( I dropped my bag somewhere on the trail after sharing some with Brad) and food.  My crew was there and hooked me up with twix bites, Pierre, coke, and loaded my bladder with Caffeinated Tailwind.

I noticed someone sitting down and I asked if I could sit and Amy promptly responded NO! Dang…she looked so comfortable.  I thought she was a volunteer, but later found out she was a runner on the “struggle bus”  It was busy up there as my crew got me set and aided several other runners.  Fortunately, I had a very well stocked rolling aid station that they fed many runners in need.  Mile 66, and people around me were starting to fall apart.

I could not sit....so I enjoyed my lean with my fig newton...that I eventually spit out.

Mile 66- I could not sit….so I enjoyed my lean with my fig newton…that I eventually spit out.

It was time to head down the mountain.  I was looking forward to the 17.9 miles of downhill with Pacer #2 Fast Fred!

Fast Fred! 17.9 miles of downhill bliss

Mile 66- Pacer #2 , Fast Fred! 17.9 miles of downhill bliss

We were off! I had not seen Fred for several weeks so we had a lot of catching up to do (Kate style- save the chatter for the run). Fred was militant about making sure I was sipping my tailwind on every walk segment. It was getting hard to do but I knew I needed to do it for hydration and calories.  The Motrin was kicking in and I was ready to roll.  The trickiest part of this downhill section was the pesky rocks on the trail.  You had to be very careful to pick up your feet.  Fred tripped several times and somehow managed to stay upright.  I think I only tripped once…that was a miracle. It was VERY dark, and we both were trying really hard to stay upright. Surprisingly, the only wildlife I encountered was a large brown spider hanging down on the trail that I literally ran into with my face.

Funny thing is I had no concept of how much I had slowed down. I felt like I was running fast.  I was later informed that was not the case.  Fred was kind enough to continue running although my pace had slowed to almost walking speed. But I was still running!  I was determined to run the entire race.  Amy,  after working aid at many Graveyard 100’s ,  was certain I would be walking towards the end of the race.  I took that as a challenge and was hard set to keep up my 4:2 segments.

Fred and I started to discuss the possibility of me finishing sub 24.  Fred cautiously, mentioned that there was a lot of time and miles left in the race and anything could happen. We started passing people and it confirmed we were steady and strong.  It was at that point I mentioned that while passing people was great, I did not get nearly the satisfaction of passing a man as I did when I passed a women.  I am not typically a competitive person, but when I heard I had moved up from 13th to 10th place  female, it was a little motivation to push a little harder.

While I was defiantly slowing down, we still made great time and arrived in Damascus about 20 min ahead of schedule. Fred and I were greeted by my crew. I was impressed they were outside at 2:45am.  Amy dropped in my final tailwind bladder, I grabbed a Perrier, a coke and took off for 11.5 miles with by brother-in-law Jon. 16 miles to go!

Mile 84.7,Pacer #3, Jon, my brother- in- law

Jon was fresh with great stories to keep me entertained.  I still laugh at his comment early on ” I have too much pride to let you out run me tonight”.  I was confident this was not going to be an issue.  I paced Jon in his first marathon in 2009 so it was great for him to return the favor and run with me in the wee hours of the morning.  My spirits were good, his new Garmin, hot out of the box, kept us on our 4:2 segments.  As I unintentionally slowed, Jon and I discussed the fact I could finish the race sub 24.  Wow! This really was never part of my verbalized plan. When I worked out my run plan my estimated finish was 23:50 but I never dreamed this was possible.  I just wanted to finish and get get my buckle. At this point, I knew I was going to finish and a sub 24 was in my reach. I was excited and eager to get to the finish line.  Jon was militant with his “tough love” and said if you want to finish this sub 24 you need to keep up your segments.  I was still moving but it was not very fast. He pushed me to catch up with people ahead of us and pass them.  If my memory serves my correctly, we passed two people.

I was feeling good.  I was surprised I was not ” seeing things” in the dark. At one point,  I decided to look over the side of one of the trestles.  Why?  I have no idea. Bad idea…the ground was moving up and down towards me. EEEK!  The only other issue was looking intentionally at the mist in my headlamp beam.  Jon mentioned it, I looked at thought I might fall out.

We finally came upon Watuga Trestle, where Jon would drop off and I would be paced to the finish by my sister Amy.  When I saw the lights from my crews led umbrella ( purchase so I could easily spot my crew), I was hit with a rush of emotions and the tears began to flow.  I quickly composed myself and fought back the tears.  I thought they went un noticed but apparently there was not fooling them.  I hit the porta potty, grabbed a Perrier and a bag of bugles and we were off.

Pacer #4- My sister Amy!

Pacer #4- My sister Amy! I included zip lock bags in my aid bag for easy transport of food to go.

4.5 miles to go!  It was surreal that I was so close to finishing.  Amy kept me distracted with great conversation.  I was still talking, happy, and weaving.  She ran alongside of me and often held onto my hydration pack.  She was so paranoid I was going to drift off the side of the trail.  I am sure I look like a drunk trying to run.  About two miles in, Amy said ” I have some notes I want to read you”.  Instantly I began to cry and said “You are going to make me cry”.  Her firm response was ” WE HAVE NO ENERGY FOR EMOTION“.  I replied “OK” and quickly snapped back to my happy weaving self. Bottom line best line ever that she pulled out of her ass! Way to go Amy!

Believe it or not, the miles passed quickly.  Again, I thought I was running fast, but I wasn’t.  In my mind I was so that was really all that mattered.  Amy kept me on the 4:2 segments. At one point, I just wanted to be done and kept running.  She quickly scolded me that I need to stay on my segments and my plan.  Reluctantly, I started to walk.  It was my only act of defiance/rebellion towards my pacers.  Given my feisty personality, this is even shocking to me.

Finally I saw a red light in the distance.  I said, “Amy do you see that red light?”  She said, ” There is no red light”.  I said “Yes there is…..see”. Finally she saw the light! In my mind we picked up the pace.  My brother in law Jon was at the head of the finish shoot and yelled to alert all we were there.  OMG!  I was hit with a rush of emotion and could hear my family and friends screaming.  I am not sure what I said.  I do remember someone dressed as a unicorn 🙂 and  Amy yelling ” WE HAVE NO ENERGY FOR EMOTION” over and over as we ran up the chute! I DID IT! I was done!  I finished far stronger than I ever imagined possible.  100 Miles!

23:52:47!

8th female, 1st age group 40-50,  26th overall!  ( all this took me by surprise)

My final and best HUG and BUCKLE from Jason!

My final and best HUG and BUCKLE from Jason!

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My first Buckle and it is SWEET! #earnedthatshit

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Handmade buckle….I am partial but this is the coolest buckle I have ever seen!

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looking like an old lady! Post race epson salt soak

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When you run 100 miles, Beer is acceptable at 8am! Thanks Anj for my Yeti beer 🙂

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My sisters coordinated gathering letters of support for me from all circles of my life. There was even a letter from my preschool teacher. I laughed, cried, rested and read some more. I was blown away with the kind words and support from family and friends. They wanted 100 notes but had close to 70! it took a long time to read them. I will cherish them always!

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Everyone needs a 100 sash!

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Post race margaritas at Hey Joes

The Yeti 100, hands down, was the most rewarding physical and mental challenge I have ever accomplished.  All miles beyond 75 were uncharted territory for me.  When I finished my 75 milies at Croatan 24, I could not even fathom running another 25.  Honestly, it scared the crap out of me.

I attribute my Yeti 100 success to my race preparation ( which started months in advance), run plan, along with my physical and mental preparation.  I was on my mental game.  I never dreaded what was ahead of me and approached it with sheer excitement from the day I registered.  I knew it was going to be tough, and there was a strong possibility that I would face some some race day woes, including failure.  Deep down, I was doing what I loved, running in a beautiful place with like minded crazy people.  I was determined to enjoy every single mile.  While there were times I was not sure if a burp would actually be a retch, I mentally willed away things that would steal my joy. Oddly, I never felt my nagging knee, perhaps it was there but I was having not part of feeling it. I was a happy, slightly emotional ( towards the end) runner for all 100 miles.

My Crew! My family and #internetfriends! My family joined me for my 13.1, 26.2, skipped the 42, 62, and 75 miles. Rejoined for 100 miles! My local running friends, no longer able to keep up with my running craziness, encouraged me to expand my running network to give them a break! Hence, came Anj and Fred. Long time social media contacts and now friends!

My Crew! My family and #internetfriends! My family joined me for my 13.1, 26.2, skipped the 42, 62, and 75 miles. Rejoined for 100 miles!
My local running friends, no longer able to keep up with my running craziness, encouraged me to expand my running network to give them a break! Hence, came Anj and Fred. Long time social media contacts and now friends!

I was so fortunate to have the support of my family and friends as crew.  As I reflect back, would my experience have been different without them?  100%!  Seeing them out on the course was a true mental boost and I looked forward to it. My Pacers were an absolute game changer. They were excellent! So fresh and committed to getting me to the finish line. Those dark hours would have been so different without them. They all kept me chatting and laughing.  I am certain, everyone heard us coming.  Perhaps this is what scared away the wildlife.

Two weeks post Yeti, I am still giddy with excitement with what I accomplished.  I am thrilled to have  such a strong 100 mile finish behind me. I know in the ultra running world, I have a lot of challenges ahead of me and certainly some DNF’s.  It’s all part of the lure that keeps me coming back.  If it was easy, everyone would do it.  I am motivated by the sheer fact that failure is a strong possibility.

Will I do another 100?  Absolutely!

When…..I don’t know.

Whats next? Gosh……I am struggling with that questions right now.

For now…I was bask in the glory of my shinny kick ass buckle!

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Here are some misc pictures:)  The course is BEAUTIFUL, since I had run the course twice before, I made the conscience decision race day not to slow my roll with pictures.  I was taking it old school and searing the images in my mind!

Packet Pick up. Wolf Hills Brewing, Abingdon

Packet Pick up. Wolf Hills Brewing, Abingdon

Everyone needs a little Jesus! I spotted Jesus on the training run beside the trail at an auction house. Jesus Take The Trail #JTTT

Everyone needs a little Jesus! I spotted Jesus on the training run beside the trail at an auction house. Jesus Take The Trail #JTTT

#JTTT

#JTTT

 

Very sweet text message I received from a long time church friend who thinks I am crazy. It touched me so much, I wrote it on the back of my race plan and stuffed it in my pack. I ready it and recited it very often.

Very sweet text message I received from a long time church friend who thinks I am crazy. It touched me so much, I wrote it on the back of my race plan and stuffed it in my pack. I ready it and recited it very often.

Prep- Run Plan booklet for my crew. Yes, I put it in a project folder and labeled it. I labeled everything.

Prep- Run Plan booklet for my crew. Yes, I put it in a project folder and labeled it. I labeled everything.

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Pre- race love from Kmac!

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Pre Race love from virtual #BRF and fellow #BAMR Kim. I pick up money while I run and put it in a special cup so hence the pennies.  I found a quarter on the Creeper Trail during my solo run and I had it in my pack along with the Penny Agj found during the Yeti Training run.  It was good Karma!

Anj found a penny on our Yeti training run. She gifted it to me:) I ran right over it!

Anj found a penny on our Yeti training run. She gifted it to me:) I ran right over it!

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From my sweet virtual #BRF and fellow Portland, OR #BAMR – Mel! Early in the race, I was ping ponging with a group doing segments. One of the guys yelled out “You Do You” it was great! This is my banter with Mel! Fat M&M’s is a reference to my friend Smitha, virtial #BRF, whom had never seen Peanut M&M’s. She called them “Fat M&M’s” it stuck!

 

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Seriously Kate! Over the top! She made me into my favorite candy! Like an M&M…I am hard on the outside but soft on the inside.

Kate! Stella & Dot, yeti 100 bar necklace. Sure glad I finished!

Kate! Stella & Dot, yeti 100 bar necklace. Sure glad I finished!

My ridiculous family during the dysfunctional crew meeting. We should have recorded it. It is permanently sealed in my mind! It was a riot!

My ridiculous family during the dysfunctional crew meeting. We should have recorded it. It is permanently sealed in my mind! It was a riot!  My favorite comment was from my Dad, after I lost my composure with a brief emotional moment ( my feet were  taped with my blue Kinesio tape) ” I think you should be concerned that your feet are turning blue”

 

Post Yeti celebration in Raleigh during Hurricane Matthew.

Post Yeti celebration in Raleigh during Hurricane Matthew. These are the brave ones who ventured out.  We all should have been home!

Beautiful shot of the Damascus sky! Until next time..........

Beautiful shot of the Damascus sky! Until next time……….

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#GeauxRunLA…Louisiana Marathon Recap

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Voted one of the best NEW  Marathons by Runners World Magazine…The Louisiana Marathon will not disappoint. Baton Rouge, the state capital, and home to Louisiana State University is a great host city. The Marathon offers numerous running options and family themed events. There is a distance for everyone. You can certainly make an entire weekend of it!  Laura and I left our husbands and kids behind so we missed out on all of the pre- marathon activities by choice.

We flew into New Orleans Friday afternoon and drove over to Baton Rouge (1.25hr drive).  You can easily fly into Baton Rouge, but we decide while in the area we would spend some post marathon time in New Orleans.

All the marathon activities were hosted downtown so we booked the Downtown Hampton Inn. Great choice as it was only 3.5 blocks from the start! Great location, free breakfast, and late check out option.  We were thrilled to secured the last available room.  Don’t delay as rooms book fast!

imageDowntown Baton Rouge, was a little sleepy. Clearly catering to the Mon-Friday business crowd, there was limited evening dinning and shopping options.  Don’t get me wrong there were options, just not as many as I was expecting in a city. Clearly, this is a city in transition and new options are on the horizon. The city itself was very clean and we always felt safe while walking around.  We did struggle to find a grocery store in close proximity to pick up some amenities so we opted for a Walmart.  When in doubt, seems you can always find a Walmart.  Luckily, we had a car.

The expo hosted at the Baton Rouge River Center was walking distance from the hotel.  We chose to drive since we planned to drive the course later in the day. Packet pick up was a breeze and they gave us a nice reusable drawstring bag with pictures of Louisiana. While I am not personally an “expo person” they seem to have a lots of vendors, LA marathon themed gear, and some really cool limited prints.  The expo certainly met my needs.

Traditional Expo picture

Traditional Expo picture

We attempted our traditional pre-race drive of the course.  We did not quite drive the entire course due to a very small map but we got the general idea.  Flat and nice!  We enjoyed a WONDERFUL carb load dinner a few blocks from our hotel at The Little Village. Definitely a hot spot and one of a few dinning options.  We did not have reservations but were able to squeeze into two spots at the bar. If you go you must order the Village Bread.  Get a whole loaf!  Yummy!  I could have feasted on just that alone!

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Lined up and ready to go!

Race Day! We hit breakfast in the hotel and walked to the start. We were so close to the starting line we were able to utilize our nice and clean private bathroom verses the Porta Potties. BONUS!  The starting line up was packed into the small street but manageable.  The race was capped at 2,000 marathoners and 3,600 half marathoners.  After the waved start, we were off and running.  The course best described by the race organizers was spot on!

Friends, family and curious spectators will line up for Race Day Tailgating along the 26.2 miles of roadways filled with inspiring sights and sounds to cheer on the many that chose to run. The Louisiana Marathon course features a fast, flat, runner-friendly path through the lakes, along the river, around downtown, on the university campus and in historic neighborhoods. Runners and spectators will enjoy local music & entertainment along the course.

The locals were out in force turning the race into a reason to have tailgate parties in their front yards.  Perhaps it was their warm up to festival season ( pre- mardi gras) It was fantastic! They were so welcoming and you could really get a feel for the spirit of Louisiana.  To date,  I have never seen so much beer, champagne, and bloody Marys on course( spectator provided).  Oh and doughnuts, and of course King Cake! If you chose to you could have partaken almost every mile.  I cannot say enough good things about the course. I love it! Here are some sights and scenes from the course.

Loved the Trees

Loved the Trees. Pictures does them no justice

 

As seen on course..these guys cracked me up!

As seen on course..these guys cracked me up! Note…no time for cooler they were drinking beer right from the 12 pack.

Even the Pet Chicken got to partake in the race day fun!

Even the Pet Chicken got to partake in the race day fun!

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Beautiful run around the lake.

By far the funniest thing I captured on course was a fellow race participant taking advantage of a tree swing in someones yard. He was singing and swinging.  Hilarious! Perhaps, he was enjoying the on course libations? Runners high? Really, it does not matter he was having a blast!

Swinging Runner!

Happy Swinging Singing Runner! Yes this was on the marathon course. Exactly the reason I run with my phone. Somethings you just have to capture!

The finish shoot runs right up to the capital.  A great way to finish!

Done! Congrats to Laura and her !st marathon post baby!

Done! Congrats to Laura and her 1st marathon post baby! She is still lightning fast!

The post race festival was hopping!  It was open to the public for purchase. Music and lots of different regional foods and Beer.  Laura’s stomach was off so we did not stay and sample all the offering. I did enjoy some yummy red beans and rice and a cold Abita!

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I typically don’t linger too long at post race activities but this certainly looked like one worth staying for.  Unfortunately, we did not have much time as we were pushing our late check out and needed to shower and hit the road to New Orleans.  Luckily, our shower was only 3.5 blocks away!

Overall, great experience.  I give Louisiana Marathon 2 thumbs up! Great regional race with local flair!  Much better alternative to Rock n’ Roll New Orleans.#Runlocal

12th State checked off the list!

 #GeauxRunLA you will be glad you did!  

Ragnar Napa Valley: Recaps from my fellow BadASS Mother Runners

imageThree plus months have passed and I have yet to recap my Ragnar Napa experience. Perhaps, the delay is due to the fact I did not want to acknowledge the experience, with five months of great anticipation, had come and gone.  What I have come to know, in the months proceeding our 205 mile journey from San Francisco to Calistoga, CA,  is that our Ragnar experience was just a kickstart to a wonderful relationship with 11 fellow mother runners.

Despite being separated by many miles and numerous state lines, we continue to engage in daily dialog with each other via our private Facebook group, emails,text, skype, and even an occasional conference call.  Technology is great!

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It was a tremendous honor to be selected as a participant on this team! I will forever cherish the memories or our CA weekend and look forward to creating more memories.  In less that 5 months, almost 1 year to the day we found out we were selected for the team,   8 of us will be gathering in Pittsburgh, PA for the Pittsburgh Marathon weekend. While we will certainly miss SBS, Dimiity, Kelly, and Lisa.  They will not be forgotten and will certainly be there in spirit.

I thought the best way to recap the weekend was through sharing the official AnotherMotherRunner.com Ragnar Napa Valley recaps.  While this was a team effort, each of us had our very own unique personal experience. We covered the gamut with racing highs and racing woe’s. Enjoy the race recaps from my fellow team mates.

AMR Blog Post– Ragnar Napa Valley: The Mother Runner Recap

AMR Pod Cast#129:Napa Valley Ragnar Relay

My pictorial recap!

Van #1-Erin, Dimity, Jen, Kelly, Kim, Lisa.  Kicked up off bright and early Friday morning!

Van #1-Erin, Dimity, Jen, Kelly, Kim, Lisa. Kicked up off bright and early Friday morning! We stayed at the lovely Marina Motel, San Francisco.  The gardens were beautiful and the staff was so accommodating to our needs and our over sized vans!

Van #2- Sarah, Me, Mel, Laura, Jodi, Smitha.  We got to sleep in and start running early afternoon ( In the HEAT!)

Van #2- Sarah, Me, Mel, Laura, Jodi, Smitha. We got to sleep in and start running early afternoon ( In the HEAT!)

The "Mother of all things Relay" We were so fortunate to have Mel, whom has numerous relays under her belt, in our van.  Seriously, thinking she brought everything we could possibly need!

The “Mother of all things Relay” We were so fortunate to have Mel, whom has numerous relays under her belt, in our van. Seriously, think she brought everything we could possibly need except a portable air conditioner.

Crossing the Golden Gate  Bridge on the way to our first exchange

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on the way to our first exchange.

Van #2- READY!

Van #2- READY!

Team shot minus Mel.  Perhaps one picture too many! But hey life was good and we were happy!

Team shot minus Mel with one of our numerous sponsors NUUN. Perhaps one picture too many! But hey life was good and we were happy!

After heading in the wrong direction from the exchange, as a result of my poor navigation skills, we finally got back on track to met Mel at exchange #8.  To make matters worse due to road construction  Ragnar decided to make the transition area “floating”.  Basically meaning you would meet your runner along a unmarked half mile area.  CONFUSING FOR ALL! We waited, and waited with no signs of Mel.  Whom decided because it was only three miles not to take her phone, garmin, or water.  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, due to the unmarked transition and no team in sight Mel kept running.  Cannot say I blame her I would have done the same thing.  After much waiting and contemplating, we decided we would set Laura off on her leg (we did not want her to miss her miles) and we would head to the next transition and hope Mel was there.

As we were waiting SBS found a penny! She was so excited! She also instructed Laura on her first "pop a squat"

As we were waiting SBS found a penny! She was so excited! She also instructed Laura on her first “pop a squat”

RE-UNITED! We found our Mel.  Hot, frazzeled, and worn out we found our girl at the next exchange! Such Relief! We did contact Ragnar Race Command  to seek assistance of a lost runner and they were ZERO help!

RE-UNITED! We found our Mel!  Hot, frazzled, and worn out we found our girl at the next exchange! Such a Relief! We did contact Ragnar Race Command to seek assistance of a lost runner and they were ZERO help!

Smitha and I waiting for Laura after her first run!

Smitha and I waiting for Laura after her first run! It was HOT!

Finally off on my first 9 miles leg.  So HOT!  the spectators with the water sprayers were the BEST! The second time I saw one of the groups I had the m snap this photo!

Finally off on my first 9 miles leg. So HOT! the spectators with the water sprayers were the BEST! The second time I saw one of the groups I had the m snap this photo!

Before he handed me back my phone he snuck in a quick selfie! So great! They made my day!

Before he handed me back my phone he snuck in a quick selfie! So great! They made my day!

Re-united with Van 1 at exchange!

Re-united with Van 1 at exchange!

Aaron at the community center saved me by having batteries for my headlamp!  ( Next time I will keep batteries out of lamp for travel, and bring extra)

Aaron at the community center saved me by having batteries for my headlamp! ( Next time I will keep batteries out of lamp for travel, and bring extra)

Laura and I attempting sleep in the field of the community center.  I am pretty sure SBS was snoring! That woman can sleep anywhere!

Laura and I attempting sleep in the field of the community center. I am pretty sure SBS was snoring! That woman can sleep anywhere! Perhaps it was her Saucony body suit!

Ready for our second legs in the very very early morning!

Ready for our second legs in the very very early morning!

 

Great 9 mile run.  Super treat was watching the sun come up and finishing in the vineyards!  Or is it a "Wine Yard" as Smitha called it lol!

Great 9 mile run. Super treat was watching the sun come up and finishing in the vineyards! Or is it a “Wine Yard” as Smitha called it lol!

Laura eventually got some sleep!

Laura eventually got some sleep!

After 30 hours of awake time, I took "Personality rest time" My eyes were open but my mouth was shut!  Powering up for our last legs of the relay!

After 30 hours of awake time, I took “Personality rest time” My eyes were open but my mouth was shut! Powering up for our last legs of the relay!

"Smitha would you like some?" "No Thanks what is that Fat M&M's?".....I proceeded to almost pee myself in laughter.  My sweet little Indian Princess had never seen a Peanut M&M!  Life altering moment!  We had hours of laughter at her expense! Forever referred to as FAT M&M's!

“Smitha would you like some?” “No Thanks what is that Fat M&M’s?”…..I proceeded to almost pee myself in laughter. My sweet little Indian Princess had never seen a Peanut M&M! Life altering moment! We had hours of laughter at her expense! Forever referred to as FAT M&M’s!

Wasting time at possible the worst exchange ever.  A dusty field, no shade, and a bunch of honey buckets ( Port-0- Potties)  We passed time by bartering Fat M&M's for whatever we could get!

Wasting time at  the worst exchange ever.   A dusty field, no shade, and a bunch of honey buckets ( Port-0- Potties) We passed time by bartering Fat M&M’s  out for whatever we could get!

The day was getting hotter by the hour! Quick group shot before sending Jodi off on what turned our to be a horrific leg!

The day was getting hotter by the hour! Quick group shot before sending Jodi off on what turned out to be a horrific leg!

Me and the vines.  It was so hot the camera was even sweating!

Me and the vines. It was so hot the camera was even sweating!

Killing time in Calistoga! What a cute little town  We did not stick out a bit in our tutus

Killing time in Yountville! What a cute little town We did not stick out a bit in our tutus

After Jodi's horrific hot run and reports of Ragnar rationing water at the aid stations  The Mother of all Relays (Mel) declared WAR!  She stormed the local grocery for water, ice , and ziplock baggies.  If Ragnar was not going to take care of the runners we were!  The runners were all so appreciative! ( We did call Ragnar race command and they did respond saying they would get more water on the course)

After Jodi’s horrific hot run and reports of Ragnar rationing water at the aid stations The Mother of all Relays (Mel) declared WAR! She stormed the local grocery for water, ice , and ziplock baggies. If Ragnar was not going to take care of the runners we were! The runners were all so appreciative! ( We did call Ragnar race command and they did respond saying they would get more water on the course.  Just poor planning as they forecast had not changed)

 

Finally, we set our sights on Jodi! We were so relieved to see her!

Finally, we set our sights on Jodi! We were so relieved to see her!

 

SBS looking BadASS after her 11 miler! We were all so  Proud of her!

SBS looking BadASS after her 11 miler! We were all so Proud of her!

After SBS Beasted her 11 miles in the Sauna, due to temps and time Ragnar gave us the option to skip to the next exchange.  We took the option!  Smitha and I ran the final leg together!  Warrior paint and all ( not whiskers) were were ready!

After SBS Beasted her 11 miles in the Sauna, due to temps and time Ragnar gave us the option to skip to the next exchange. We took the option! Smitha and I ran the final leg together! Warrior paint and all ( not whiskers) were were ready!

Probably the most entertaining 5.3 miles of my life. Singing, dance running and entertaining the cars stuck in traffic!  We finally made it! Smitha , sandbagging, most of the run finally "Let it Go" and we sprinted to the finish!

Probably the most entertaining 5.3 miles of my life. Singing, dance running and entertaining the cars stuck in traffic! We finally made it! Smitha , sandbagging, most of the run finally “Let it Go” and we sprinted to the finish!

DONE! 205 miles!

DONE! 205 miles!

Delayed several hours due to the heat, and Ragnar running out of finisher  medals…it was not the finish any of us had envisioned.  But we were done! We did it together and had a blast!  Unfortunately, we had to cancel our dinner plans and head straight for our hotel 2 hours away.  We would have to wait to toast our finish at another time! ( all the more reason for a reunion)

Glowing from her finish! Mel popped our tops in our fab accommodations! I seriously considered sleeping in the van! Instead we toasted to our wonderful journey with Smitha, Lisa, and Laura!

Glowing from her finish! Mel popped our tops in our fab accommodations! I seriously considered sleeping in the van! Instead we toasted to our wonderful journey with Smitha, Lisa, and Laura!

All good things must come to an end.  Van clean up!

Sad faces…All good things must come to an end. Van clean up!

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Quck stop in San Fran to pick up our luggage at SBS's friend Amy who let us store our luggage in her apartments.  So helpful! We said our good byes to the those headed to the airport!

Quck stop in San Fran to pick up our luggage at SBS’s friend Kate who let us store our luggage in her apartments. So helpful! We said our good byes to the those headed to the airport!

Sharing my Hoka love with Smitha!

Sharing my Hoka love with Smitha!

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Rounded out the trip by spending the afternoon and evening  with my Van 1 peeps!

Rounded out the trip by spending the afternoon and evening with my Van 1 peeps!

Tremendous thanks to Sarah and Dimity, AnotherMotherRunner.com, for pulling together this amazing team of 11 mother runners.  This trip will forever hold a special place in my heart not only for the experience but most of all the friendships it kickstarted! Love to all my BAMRS! Cannot wait to see you in May!

Check out recaps from fellow blogging team mates:

Project Lovely Laura A four part mini series recap! 

The Faux Runner- More Fat M&M’s and Wine Yards!

Two Princesses on the run- The one and only Princess of Ragnar 🙂

Running in Circles Croatan24

Admittedly, I told my sister more than once she was CRAZY for running around in circles. Why on earth would anyone in their right mind want to run around in circles, sleep deprived, for 24 hours? Despite her numerous attempts to to convince me it was “So Fun”, I remained a non believer with ZERO interest.

Amy( my sister) with Ashley and I at the CedarIsland40 finish!

Amy( my sister) with Ashley and I at the CedarIsland40 finish!

Funny how things change!  Hours fresh off my ultra redemption run in April. Ashley, Amy and I sat around the breakfast table and discussed our next goal.  I remember vividly Ashley saying “lets do 100k at Croatan24.”  After running 10 hours with Ashley the day before I had become rather trust worthy of her. No offense to my sister(Amy), but Ashley’s validation and enthusiasm about running around in circles solidified for me it was something I must give a try at least once.  Just like that, with my feet and toes trashed from 42.54 miles, I was now setting my sights on 62 miles! Gotta love a stretch goal!

 

With 7 months to prepare, and one successful ultra under my belt I was ready to tackle the 100k.  One thing was for sure, I had to do something different with my feet or I would never achieve my goal.

Feet Prep  Supplies - RunGoo, Fixing Your Feet Book, Injinji toe socks, Arbonne foot creme!

Feet Prep Supplies – RunGoo, Fixing Your Feet Book, Injinji toe socks, Arbonne foot creme!

Bryon Powell author of  Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running ultramarathons referenced John Vonhof’s book Fixing Your Feet: Prevention and Treatment for Athletes. WOW!  Tons of information regarding foot care. Something  I had never given any thought.  Foot care and blister prevention took top priority on my training list.  I religiously, scrubbed callouses, conditioned my feet, taped pre-run with Kinseo Tex Tape, and  lubricated  with RunGoo. Additionally,  I  ditched my Asics Gel Kayanos and moved to Hoka Stinson Lites.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these shoes and am a HOKA convert for life. I have never felt this strongly about a shoe before in my life.  #HokaLove!  5-6 months into my foot-care routine, I was able to run “naked” with no taping just lubrication and my injinji socks.  Major milestone! If you struggle with blisters or other foot aliments I highly recommend John’s book.

November finally arrived and I was ready to tackle the 100k. I was physically and mentally ready.  I was excited and organized!  I was going to be prepared for whatever the 2.33 miles loops had in store for me.

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Ready for 24 hours of running or 100k..whatever comes first!

Ready for 24 hours of running or 100k..whatever comes first!

At 8:00am, with beautiful weather we were off and running in circles! Due to trail maintenance at the typical Crotan24 location, this years race was moved to an alternate location within the national forest.  The trail 2.33 miles in length, was generally hard packed sand, minimal roots, pinestraw, and several large sandpits.  The sandpits added a aggravating challenging.  Croatan veterans were vocally frustrated by the sandy nature of the trail. The fine sand and silt wreaked havoc on participants feet.  Having nothing to compare to, I found the trail slightly challenging but nothing I could not handle.  I was prepared!  The sand and silt was not going to slow me down!

Sharing the trail with Ultramarathon legand and world record holder Valmir Nunes  far right)  He lapped us the entire time:) Honored to share the course with such greatness!

Sharing the trail with Ultramarathon legend and world record holder Valmir Nunes ( far right) He lapped us the entire time:) He had one speed…FAST!  Honored to share the course with such greatness!

We agreed to a 6:2 run walk segment from the very start.  This proved to be a great ratio. The first 13 miles went by really fast.  It was a great day and I was feeling good.  At 14 miles, I took my first “pit stop”  for foot maintenance.  Good call, as despite my Dirty Girl Gaiters the fine silt and sand had found its way through the fine mesh in the toe box of my Hokas.  So thankful, I purchased gaiters the week prior. A new running staple for me.

Mile 14 Foot care preventative maintenance! clean feet, fresh socks, and shoe change

Mile 14 Foot care preventative maintenance! clean feet, fresh socks, and shoe change

Ashley, while watching my foot routine some how found a gnarly cacti! Thankfully, the race crew spent much of the day before clearing cacti off the trail Thanks Jimmy B!.  Eeeeek!

Ashleys Cacti= OUCH!

Ashley’s Cacti= OUCH!

Ashley’s foot care consisted of…nothing!  She and her Luna Sandals continue to amazes me!  I thought for sure the sand would cause her issues. Throughout the day, I would inquire if her feet were ok.  They were always GREAT! I finally stopped asking! Amazing!

Ashleys

Ashley’s smart wool toe socks and Luna Sandals

We ran and ate throughout the day.  Heather, the race directors wife, provides a spectacular spread of food throughout the race. The variety of snacks, drinks, and hot food was over the top. Any race that provides a menu is a race for me! Its amazing how food I would not typically eat taste so good when you are running.  I was happily fueled by hamburgers, orange peanut butter crackers, salted potato,  BBQ chips, Fat M&Ms aka. peanut M&M, pizza, grilled cheese, coke, and Mt. Dew.  On a normal day, I would not consider eating most of that.  But on that day it was Yummy! Great job Heather and RacENC!

Road side str

Road side stretch where the runners set up camp!  Also, home to the lap count tent and FOOD tent!

I took my second foot care “pit stop” around mile 30.  I was sticking to my plan to change socks and shoes every 15 miles and apply fresh tape.  Mile 30 and my feet were holding up nicely.  I developed a large blister on the pad of my right foot.  Since it was not weight bearing, I let it be and applied extra tape.  My toenails, cut as short as possible, were tender and I knew I was developing blisters beneath the toenail on my big toes.  I fully expected this.

Foot care round two

Foot care round two

I was thrilled my daughter joined me for the weekend and visited me during the day!

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I ran and Madelyn took in all the sites!

I ran and Madelyn took in all the sites from my chair with a warm blanket!

Still having fun and enjoying myself, day turned to night and we were still running our 6:2 segments. Amy and Jennifer had dropped back, so Ashley and I continued to log the miles together.  The evening brought cooler temperatures but nothing a light jacket could not handle.  I did change into dry clothes and was thankful for that choice.

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The night running was peaceful.  By this time many participants had hit the 50k and 40 mile mark and thrown in the towel.  I am not sure if this was their plan all along but I do think the sandy trail conditions caused many to cut their run short.  We were still clipping away the miles and running in distance PR territory(All miles after 42.54 for me and after 50 for Ashley). There was never any doubt we would not achieve our 100k goal.  It was just a matter of when.  Ashely had a crazy idea we would finish by 10pm giving us time to check out a local pub she had heard about.  I told her she was crazy!  After a little re-calculating (which took some time as our brains were not functioning at full capacity), she realized the suds would have to wait.  Plan B was quickly formed and made sure Amy’s husband stocked the fridge at the house.

I had never run so long at night.  Fortunately, for Amy I gave her my extra batteries for her headlamp.  Unfortunately for me, my headlamp batteries started to drain and my light was getting dimmer by the minute.  It never died completely, the flashlight I packed worked awesome and was really bright.  Next 24 hour race, I will have a bag of batteries and possibly a brighter headlamp.

My Garmin Forerunner 310xt, with a 12 hour battery, impressed the heck out of me by lasting for 15 hours.  When it died, Ashley became our 6:2 alarm for the next two hours.  It was rather funny or at least we thought it was.  She mimicked the beep, beep, beep, beepbeepbeepbeepbeep perfectly.

The final laps seemed longer than usual.  15 hours in, we finally broke our 6:2 segment and walked more. We were so close to being done.  The first glimpse of the light from the lap counting tent was a welcome sight and the signal of another lap complete!

Finally, after 17:47:02 hours and 27 laps we were DONE! Goal ACHIEVED! 62.44 MILE! 

(Congrats to Amy(55+) and Jennifer(50) on their respective PR’s.  Also, for hanging out and waiting for us to finish!)

100K!

100K!

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Fantastic experience and top notch race! Brandon and Heather, RacENC, host an excellent event.   I have no complaints!  Looking forward to 2015! I have my sites on 75 miles! There is no other race where  I would rather make this attempt than Croatan24!

Bring on 75 miles in 2015!

Post 100k feet in great shape! I large blister on pad of foot.  Biggest complaint was blisters beneath toenails.

Post 100k feet in great shape! I large blister on pad of foot. Biggest complaint was blisters beneath toenails.

Despite 17 hours of grime, Ashleys feet were blister free!

Despite 17 hours of grime, Ashley’s feet were blister free! She was clearly very happy about that

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Finally the 5 year running HEX, with my sister Amy was  lifted. After many failed attempts to race together we finally ran Croatan24! We both hit new distance pr’s! Amy- 55+ miles me- 62.44. Amy is the sole reason for my running mania. She challenged me to my first run over 5 years ago. Little did she know the monster she would create! Thanks Amy for believing in me and always pushing me to do more! LOVE U ‪#‎runningsisters‬ ‪#‎sisters‬ ‪#‎BAMR‬‪#‎ultrarunning‬ ‪#‎batshitcrazy‬.

 

Ultra REDEMPTION ACHIEVED… CedarIsland40!

Redemption has never felt so good! It was personal! I had nothing to prove to anyone but myself!

42.54 miles complete!

10:01:21!

I did it!

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Redemption Smiles & Bunny Ears!

CedarIsland40 was my ultra redemption race. This was my opportunity to learn from my previous defeat,  push my mental and physical comfort zone, and succeed. To succeed, I had to put in the work.  I was the only thing that was going to get me across the finish line and I had to be ready! I owned it!

I committed week one of 11 to nail all my training workouts and stick with my program. While, I did not make every single workout I am very happy with my efforts.  I can honestly say in my 5 years of running, I have never taken training so seriously.  It felt good, and gave me the confidence I needed race day  I knew I had put in the work and that I would cross the finish line.

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Race Shirt and Pre-race carb load…just one:)

Katherine  (KMac- my awesome friend who accompanied me to the race) and I volunteered at packet pickup that was  hosted in a private room at Sammy’s Seafood House and Oyster Bar.  It was great to mingle, meet, and eat with some of the fellow participants. I was in awe of the ultra runners I would be sharing the course with.  Participants ranged from ultra virgins to ultra legends. Everyone was super nice and very supportive.

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KMac and I at the start! Little fuzzy but it was not even 5:00am yet

Big Thanks to Kmac who sealed my race strategy down for me. I knew I was going to do a run walk segment but had not given much thought to what that would be. Thankfully, KMac suggested 10 min run/2 min walk.  I loved it and immediately programmed the interval into my Garmin.  This was my saving grace! AWESOME!

Jason, Garrett, and I ready!

Jason, Garrett, and I ready!

3:50 am wake up call came super early! We picked up two fellow runners Jason and Garrett, whom we met at packet pickup, and headed to the starting line. Jason and Garrett were very trusting individuals to rely on complete strangers to get them to the start of the race! We were happy to help!  The minute the doors of the car closed they were no longer strangers but our newest friends.  Jason  was running his first ultra to celebrate his 40th birthday.  Wow! The Irony of that was surreal since my first ultra attempt was for my buddy’s 40th birthday…and we all know how that turned out 🙂  Garrett, signed up two weeks before the race and decided to join his buddy!  No training outside of a single 3 hours run.  He does not even like to run!  Now that is a good friend!  Crazy but good!

5:00 am the race was started with a “ready, set, GO!” by my adorable niece Chloe. Headlights bobbing in the darkness we were headed from Morehead City, NC to the Cedar Island Ferry (42 miles)

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The sunrise was beautiful…but hard to capture

The temps were mild, warmer than I had desired but we were off to a good start and feeling great.  Around mile 2, Ashley and I fell into step with one another. I inquired about her race strategy and shared my plan.  She liked my plan and that was the start of our 40 mile journey together.  Ashley, a seasoned ultra runner, is also a good friend of my sister Amy, whom was the race director.

Aid Station 1 Ashley and KMac

Aid Station 1 Ashley and KMac. Ashley sporting her LUNA Sandals!

I had planned on running alone and was totally fine with that. As extroverted as I am, it is shocking to people that know me well that I am perfectly content running alone.  Partnering up with Ashley was a race day bonus!

Cedar Island 40 route along coast of NC

Cedar Island 40 route along coast of NC

The course while very remote ran through beautiful coastal tidelands and marsh. The views were absolutely beautiful.  There was definitely more traffic than I anticipated and was unnerving at times but nothing we could not handle.  We got a friendly honk from an 18 wheeler and a wagging finger from a grumpy old lady.  One passerby was so curious as to what we were doing she slowed down to inquire.  When we told her we were running 42 miles she flipped out!  She screamed  “You go girls!” and drove off.

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Prius escort!

We had been warned of a one lane, wooden plank bridge along the route.  As we approached the bridge we contemplated what our strategy for crossing would be.  We certainly did not want to get taken out by a car on the bridge.  Before we could finalize our strategy, my brother-in-law Lee, whom was monitoring the course appeared and escorted us across the bridge.  We felt like running royalty. Perfect timing!

Bridge Selfie!

Bridge Selfie!

We ran over several bridges and the views were always breath taking! It was also a great excuse to stop and take a “selfie”.  This was the first of many!

"Color Run" drive by!

“Color Run” drive by!

On course support was often and entertaining! We never felt abandoned as Amy and her volunteers did a great job of monitoring the course and keeping an eye on the participants. I almost  fell over in laughter when Amy and my niece drove by spraying silly string and shouting Color Run!  It was everywhere. It was a great pick me up!

"Color run" silly string

“Color run” silly string

The coastal towns along NC 12 are very quaint.  It was a nice change of scenery.

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Too cute not to take a picture of.

Not everything was cute.  While the natural beauty of the tidelands was pleasant, there comes a time when enough is enough!

Dire Straits....

Dire Straits….

My picture, while hazy, is a perfect representation of the steamy slog through a portion of the course called “Dire Straits”.  Its long,winding, barren, asphalt that seems to go on forever.  We survived!

Popsicle Delivery mile 24!

Popsicle Delivery mile 27!

As temperatures rose ( into the upper 70’s) and we grew tired we would often wonder what we were seeing up ahead on the road. We saw plenty of mirages while we were anticipating the next aid stations.  Fortunately, Heather’s Edy’s Lime Popsicle delivery was not a mirage! We deemed it Heaven on a stick!  It was the best Popsicle I have ever had in my life!

Heaven on a stick!

Heaven on a stick! Note my FroggToggs Chilly Sport around my neck!

The Popsicle delivery was such a wonderful surprise and a much needed pick me up!  Diligent with our 10/2 run/walk segments, we decided we would walk and enjoy our Popsicle! Ahhhhhhh!  I have to mention my last minute decision to pack my daughters FroggTogg Chilly Sport towel was a true life saver!  I had never used this towel or anything similar before but my gut told me to pack it and give it a try.  AMAZING! Why have I never used this towel before?  This is now part of my MUST HAVE gear list and will never leave home without it for warm runs.  It really stayed wet and cool.   I rolled up ice in it at one of the last aid stations for the super cooling effect.

Whoo hooo the end is near...kind of

Whoo hooo the end is near…kind of

Neither Ashley or I ever checked the mileage on our watches. We gauged our distance based on the aid stations having a general idea where they were.  I figured we had a long distance to cover and we would get there when we get there.  It was rather exciting, when the road side signs got close to single digits.

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It was hot but we ran on.  Both of us were feeling great and enjoying the run.  We had great conversations but also spend a lot of time running in silence.  We stuck to our 10min/2min run/walk segments and consistently fueled and took our Salt Sticks every hour.  The sun was out in full force so we also applied sun screen every few hours.  It was great having company and an accountability partner.  After running hours, upon hours in the heat your brain function slows and you need a little help from your friend to stay safe. We laughed that Ashley was a running traffic cone in her BRIGHT yellow and orange shirt.  A perfect selection for the day.    I kept my Amphipod Xinglet around my waist ( I wore it correctly before the sun came up).  Its so light I did not even know it was there.

I had a complete brain slip and forgot to put my nuun in my Nathan vest.  Luckily I did drop some tablets in my first 2 liters of water so I did have some early on.  Just none for water refills  The Salt Sticks did the trick! Thank God!

About an hour behind us were Jason & Garrett! We got updates from the course monitors that they were having a blast!  Wondering what those two goof balls were doing pushed me to get to the finish line as I knew they would have some great stories! They had no worries about time they just wanted to have fun, enjoy each others company, take in the sights, and finish before the cut off.

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Jason & Garrett….having a blast every mile! They texted pictures to Amy, Race Director, along the route.

Take note of Jason’s super cool camouflage shades! As the sun came up, Jason realized he forgot his sun glasses.  He thought he would  quickly remedy the situation by popping in one of the very few convenient stores along the route and buy a pair. Easy enough, all convenient stores at the coast have sunglasses right?  Well, not this particular store. Oops onto Plan B!  While most would simply do without,  Jason was on a quest for survival.  No glasses officially for sale the next best thing was to buy them off one of the customers. Yep, Jason purchased his glasses right off the face of a lady in the store for $20! Resourceful!

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Garrett’s first marathon distance!

Sometime after mile 26.2,at one of the aid stations, Garrett realized he had officially run his first marathon! Pretty darn impressive for a guy who signed up for his first ultra two weeks prior and his training consisted of one three hour run! YOUTH! Way to go Baby G!

Because running 42+ miles is not enough, in an effort to break the monotony Garrett decided to throw in some push ups…or perhaps they were burpees! Either way just crazy!

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Great form! Little aid station fun

Finally, we made it to the last manned aid station and knew we had 9 miles to go.  Hitting the single digits felt great! It was HOT , we were tired, but still enjoying the run.  We made good time and caught up with some fellow runners and had a surprise visit from KMac, whom dressed in running clothes, was there to run in the final 5 miles with us! Such an awesome surprise and a wonderful pick me up for both Ashley and I.

My favorite on course picture!

My favorite on course picture! All smiling with 5+ miles to go! ( Lee, top right was driving the course in air conditioning so of course he was smiling.  The rest of us were running)

The final miles were long.  Likely the longest and slowest 5 miles of my life.  We were elated to make it to the last aid station! 3 miles to go!

The "lonely tree"  final aid station and Jason!

The “lonely tree” final aid station and Jason!

Jason and Garrett,  recognized the tree at the last aid station as the “lone” tree on the CedarIsland40 web page and took the opportunity to snap a photo.  I had no recollection of the tree. I love that they captured this photo. Not sure how Jason was able to get up. If I laid down at that point in the day I would be staying until someone picked me up.

Ashley and I REALLY enjoyed Katherine’s company on our final miles to the finish line. The fact she surprised us made it even better. 8+ hours in, a fresh perspective was greatly welcomed.  She encouraged us, filled us in on the runners who had finished, those who had not and generally everything that was going on.  We took a brief pit stop to take our picture with a HUGE Crusty Crustacean whom had seen some hard times.  At that point in the day I felt like I could totally relate to this poor fella.

Kmac and I with Mr. Crustacean..missing some appendages clearly needed some love and attention

Kmac and I with Mr. Crustacean..missing some appendages clearly needed some love and attention.

Ashely and I giving Mr. Crustacean kisses!

Ashely and I giving Mr. Crustacean kisses!  I had some serious Guy Fieri hair going on!

We were so close! Ashley alerted us that if we pushed through and ran the next 1.5 miles without walk segments we could potentially come in under 10 hours.  Secretly, 10 hours was my goal/desire second to  JUST FINISHING.  We agreed to push through and run it in.

Amy( Race Director & my sister) with Ashley and I at the finish!

Amy( Race Director & my sister) with Ashley and I at the finish!

I was so excited to almost be finished.  My accomplishment of ULTRA REDEMPTION was so close I could literally taste it.  Where the hell is the finish line? I was running slower than ever and thought the finish would never been in sight.  Kmac informed me we would take a right just ahead.  The right hand turn finally came, I saw the FINISH LINE! My emotions immediately swelled, on the verge of hyperventilation, I declared I could not breath.  Ashley assured me I could breath.  It was at that point, I decided we were going to sprint it in! Ashley, whom all day, was trying to decide who was crazier me or my sister(Amy) yelled “YOU are crazier than your sister” and she sprinted with me across the finish line!

10:01:21! Redemption Achieved! Amy immediately hugged me after I crossed.  I had no words only BIG, UGLY, SOBS, and TEARS! It was an ugly cry like no other but I did not care… I was finally a legit ULTRA MARATHONER! Amy asked if I needed anything and I simply replied ” Just hold me”.  🙂

My  handmade finisher pottery and Mother Earth Brewery Beer!

My handmade finisher pottery and Mother Earth Brewery Beer!

The finish line was awesome with lots of food ( unfortunately I was not up for eating), cold beverages and live music.  It was a beautiful day! I iced my horrific feet then decided to take a rest in the grass and wait for Jason and Garrett to finish.

Horrific blisters! Both pinky toes had weigh bearing blisters that popped miles 30-35.  When the popped my balance was thrown off.  It hurt like HELL but I ran through it.  Ashley thought I had a cramp as i had to grab onto her.

Horrific blisters! Both pinky toes had weigh bearing blisters that popped miles 30-35. When they popped( not simultaneously) my balance was thrown off each time.   It hurt like HELL but I ran through it. Ashley thought I had a cramp as I immediately had to grab her to keep from falling over.

Amy and I with Kirk Cameron! Amy stated she was hoping to talk smack to be as I run this ultra in an attempt to getting back to me for putting peanut butter on her fav Kirk Cameron poster when we were kids.  Unfortunately for her, i trained too well.  No smack talking opportunities.  Thanks to google I found the poster imagine printed it out and surpised her by putting it on her bedroom door.  Many laughs! At one point during the race...she drove by holding the poster ( we could not see her face) and she said Kirk says keep it up! I almost fell over in laughter!

Amy and I with Kirk Cameron! Amy stated she was hoping to talk smack to me as I ran this ultra in an attempt to get back to me for putting peanut butter on her fav Kirk Cameron poster when we were kids. Unfortunately for her, I trained too well. No smack talking opportunities. Thanks to Google, I found the poster imagine printed it out and surprised her by putting it on her bedroom door the night prior to the race. Many laughs! At one point during the race…she drove by holding the poster ( we could not see her face) and she said Kirk says keep it up! I almost fell over in laughter!

They did it! Congrats Garrett and Jason!

They did it…with 24 minutes to spare! Congrats Garrett and Jason!

Post race pic!  Bummed we could not not hang out to share some more laughs but totally enjoyed our short time with these two! Such a great part of the experience!

Post race pic with a photo bomb by Jason’s little cutie! Bummed we could not not hang out to share some more laughs but totally enjoyed our short time with these two! Such a great part of the experience!

Never give up on what you want! Don’t let your failures derail you! Learn from your missed achievements and simply do better the next time! The satisfaction is priceless! 

MANY THANKS!

  • Coach Chennelle, Raleigh Cross Fit, for overseeing my training plan and weekly motivation.  She helped me safely integrate Crossfit into my training plan and kept me accountable for my weekly training more than she will ever know!
  • Bryon Powell, irunfar.com, for writing Relentless Forward Progress A guide to running ultramarathons.  I read every page of this book and loved my training plan! I was also super excited to blog chat with him as he somehow found, read, and commented one of my earlier blog post 🙂
  • Ashley, for covering the miles with me! You were a lifesaver I did not even know I needed!
  • KMac, for insisting on traveling with me to support and volunteer!
  • Amy for giving me the ultimatum to either volunteer or sign up for her race! Sisterly motivation at its best! You did an awesome job at your first Race Director gig! So proud of you.
  • RaceENC, Brandon, Heather, & Amy for  hosting a spectacular race.  The organization, amenities, communications, and course were top notch!  Job well done.  I cannot say enough good things about CedarIsland40 and your successful execution of it!
  • Last but not least my Husband(Dan), family & friends for never doubting my ability and encouraging me!

I have fallen in love with the ultra…just as Amy said I would.  Dimity McDowell sums up my new found love and quest so nicely “Going big isn’t really about the distance. It’s about taking on something that isn’t necessarily a gimme”  Well Said Dimity! Next quest(it makes my stomach hurt to type it)…100k (62miles) at Croatan24, November 8th, 2014!

 

Feet Prep  Supplies - RunGoo, Fixing Your Feet Book, Injinji toe socks, Arbonne foot creme!

Feet Prep Supplies for next Ultra – RunGoo, Fixing Your Feet Book, Injinji toe socks, Arbonne foot creme!

 

 

 

 

 

 

JMart 4 Ragnar 2014!

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JMart 4 Ragnar 2014! 197 miles in 24+ hours…No problem!  A proven BAMR, guaranteed to provide endless hours of laughter, positive energy, and relentless motivation to all! No sleep till Napa!

Self-Proclaimed, Another Mother Runner, “Super Fan” since 2010

AMRSarah&Dim

Need to stay awake?…proudly deemed the 2nd Most Talkative relay team member!  BRRTeam

Known provider of roadside sleep deprivation entertainment!

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Fearful of twilight relay legs? No FEAR! Whats a few extra miles… Jmart will accompany you!

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AMR CONNECTION Maker!  A chance meeting at Another Mother Runner expo booth resulted in pre- race dinner invite, on course support, an inclusion in  post-race celebration!  What started as a connection quickly transitioned to AMR BOND! Love my AMR St. Paul friends!

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Mid race spills, two right shoes …no problem! Crazy things are bound to happen, you have to embrace your inner BAMR and push through!

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Relentless motivation and support!  My greatest running achievements are not captured on my Garmin or hanging on the wall…its the sheer joy of motivating and pushing a fellow runner (or soon to be runner out of their comfort zone)…achieving things they never thought were possible! Sometimes that is a finish line or simply an unbroken mile.  Every step taken, no matter the distance is an accomplishment!

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 The connection of runners, especially mother runners, is something very special. Its hard to put to words It’s an experience!  

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You won’t go wrong with JMart! Please read comments to this post from JMart 4 Ragnar supporters.  They are not actors, nor paid endorsers (maybe I promised some wine from Napa?), they are the REAL deal BRF’s of JMart!  They know me like no other…they speak the truth.  JMart 4 Ragner 2014! 

🙂  Jennifer a.k.a JMart!

 

 

Getting real with my #ULTRAredemption

My quest for my #ULTRAredemption got REAL last week when I officially registered for the CedarIsland40. Which might I add is actually 42 miles!

It is official!

It is official!

I was excited and felt like I would vomit at the same time.  I immediately sent out an email to my running peeps letting them know of my quest.  I need their support and to hold me accountable for what I have sought out to do.  My first Ultra attempt was a FAIL!   A novice mistake I learned from.  Don’t get me wrong…I was very proud of the fact I accomplished 28 miles on a very technical trail with limited lung function before being pulled.  It just did not end the way I intended.

Despite not being able to finish I was all smiles cheering on runners at the finish! Congrats David and Laura 9:22:48- Pine Mountain 40, Pine Mountain, GA

Despite not being able to finish I was all smiles cheering on runners at the finish! Congrats David and Laura 9:22:48- Pine Mountain 40, Pine Mountain, GA

So I am calling a “DO OVER”  My sister (Amy),one of my biggest supporters, is the race director for the Cedar Island 40. Its pretty exciting!  From day one she said you are either volunteering or running.  Running it is!  Ironically, the race starts in the same city where I ran my first half marathon in 2009.  I will take this as a good sign. Amy says I got this…I appreciate her vote of confidence.

Cedar Island 40 route along coast of NC

Cedar Island 40 route along coast of NC

Almost two months out I am already way more prepared than last time.  You have to love fellow bloggers who offer so much insight and information.  Many thanks to ActiveHarmony for an awesome book referral Relentless Forward Progress A Guide to running Ultramarathons.  I love it!  Its been an awesome resource for general information and training plans.  Thanks to a fellow tweep @JieWie I picked up a Nathan Endurance Vest, 2-liter. It arrived tonight and is super light and comfortable.  I cannot wait to test it out this weekend.

Coach Chennelle....Do you want to tell this Badass...you skipped out on your training! I don't!

Coach Chennelle….Do you want to tell this Badass…you skipped out on your training! I don’t!

Since my last ultra attempt I have added Crossfit into my weekly training.  I started last April and LOVE IT! My strength training in the past was hit or miss.  Actually more of a miss.  Crossfit has been an awesome addition to my weekly routine.  I have found a great Box and coaches at Raleigh Crossfit.   Coach Chennelle, Coach & Owner, of Raleigh Crossfit, was kind enough to review  and provide input to my training plan.  She has adapted my weekly Crossfit training and had me add in additional mobility and core work.  In addition, she has asked me to give her an weekly update of my training.  I am thrilled to do that and have the additional accountability for accomplishing my weekly training.  Chennelle was kind enough to provide input into my training so I don’t want to let her down.  I got to put in the work to get this thing DONE!

20140204-200620.jpgSo I am ready! Now it is time to commit to the training and make it happen! Advice welcome!

Twin Cities Marathon & Another Mother Runner CONNECTION!

9th State and 14th Marathon! Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, Oct 6, 2013

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Why Twin Cities?  I lost count of how many times I was asked this question leading up to the marathon and once we arrived in MSP (Minneapolis-St.Paul).  “You came from NC to MN for the marathon?  Wow!”  Yep,Twin Cities Marathon has been on my list of “must dos” since I decided to conquer all 50 States…before I die, or die trying. Little side note- RIP, Joy Johnson, 86,  whom died a day after running her 25th  NYC Marathon. What an inspiration! I always tell my family, If I die running, know I died doing what I love.

Bart Man! Big Sur Expo 2013

Bart Man! Big Sur Expo 2013

 Back to Twin Cities- Bart Yasso, whom I may be a tiny bit obsessed with, raved about Twin Cities in his book My Life On the Run. If by the way, you have not read this book you are totally missing out. After reading about just a few of Bart’s 1,000+ competitive adventures and being thoroughly entertained, I decided any events he put on a  “must dos” list would be added to my bucket list.  Thanks BART! Your recommendations have not failed me yet.

1st time meeting Dimity&Sarah Country Music Nashville Marathon 2011

1st time meeting Dimity&Sarah Country Music Nashville Marathon 2011

Additionally my fav gals, Sarah and Dimity of AnotherMotherRunner.com (whom I am a self proclaimed “SUPER FAN”), raved about their 2012 Twin Cities Marathon Weekend experience.  Little did I know, prior to registration and arrival, we would share a very special AMR connection. More on that later I promise…

So, Twin Cities Marathon landed on my 2013 race calendar.  Laura (my 50 States partner,  BRF, and recent newlywed) was consumed in her hectic personal life and for the first time in three years could not commit to a fall race. The beauty of our running relationship is that when we decide to do a race we don’t deliberate and ponder we “JUST DO IT” often via just text communication.

Airport Selfie headed to MSP!

Airport Selfie headed to MSP!

Luckily, my long time buddy Leigh, intrigued by my 50 states quest, was ready to tackle her second marathon.  No convincing needed she signed up, booked her flights and our hotel! MN Bound!

KMac & JMart Save the Light Half Marathon 2013 Folly Beach, SC

KMac & JMart Save the Light Half Marathon 2013 Folly Beach, SC

 My second recruit,BRF and Raleigh-CrossFit buddy Katherine, begrudgingly agreed to tackle Twin Cities (her 3rd marathon) if I would do Tough Mudder, Charlotte, NC with her in Oct.  Being an endorphin junkie, perhaps under the influence of an endorphin high, I did not hesitate and signed up for Tough Mudder.  AFTER, signing up I viewed the videos….Artic Enima, electrocution, etc. What had I gotten myself into? Clearly, I had not learned my lesson. (Pine Mountain 40 Beatdown)  Oh well, seemed like a great trade off and opportunity for a new adventure. Sadly, Katherine, fell victim to an ITband injury and had to cancel running Twin Cities 😦   On a happier note, we did conquer and survive Tough Mudder- Charlotte on 11/3.  Blog post coming soon!  

Expo Selfie

Expo Selfie

Leigh and I arrived in Minneapolis on Friday afternoon and headed straight to our hotel, Residence Inn at The Depot, walking distance to the start line!  We unpacked and laid out all our running gear (a running travel tradition). Nothing was forgotten…always a good sign!  Ready for lunch we walked across the street to The Crooked Pint.  I promise not to bore you with what we ate all weekend but I have to tell you I  had not idea how much Minnesotan’s love their tater tots!  Never having a tater tot that did not come out of a freezer bag, I found the Jumbo, house-made tater tots with Serrano peppers, bacon, and cheddar to be a delicious welcome to this first time Minnesota visitor. Hence, thought #1 I could live here! However, a diet of tator tots is likely not in my best interest.

imageAfter our late lunch we headed to the expo at the St. Paul River Center.  This was Leigh’s biggest marathon and marathon expo so we put a strategy in place to make sure we covered it all.   After we got our bibs, we headed to the furthest corner to start our expo journey. We were both really excited to visit the AnotherMotherRunner.com booth.  Boom! Right before our eyes it was the first booth we saw! We practically ran into as we rounded the corner.

AnotherMotherRunner.com CONNECTION! Amy ZP, JoAnne, Me, Jess, Leigh

AnotherMotherRunner.com CONNECTION! Amy ZP, JoAnn, Me, Jess, Leigh

The minute we reached the booth,it was  an instantaneous party and the beginning of our AMR CONNECTION! I can only imagine how loud we were or how this looked to the other expo visitors. JoAnn and I quickly made the connection that we had exchanged tweets days prior to the expo. Got to love social networking!  We shopped, shared stories of our AMR connections to Sarah and Dimity, took pictures, got restaurant referrals, exchanged contact info etc.  It was like we knew these ladies all our lives!  Amy ZP floored us when she  extended Leigh and I an invite to her pre-marathon dinner at her house. Despite only knowing these ladies for 15 minutes, they were no longer strangers, they were Another Mother Runners so we  we said YES!  We agreed we would firm up details Saturday via text.  JoAnn passed along some restaurant referrals for dinner and we reluctantly pulled ourselves away from the booth to explore the rest of the expo!  imageimageWe hopped in a cab to the Happy Gnome for dinner.  The Gnome, was packed,so we headed to the bar in hopes of scoring a table.  As we waited, we were so surprised when a cute Minnesotan couple tapped us on the shoulder and offered us their table. Why such kindness? They insisted we have the table so we took it.  Thought #2- I could live here people are so nice. Leigh and I were both blown away with the hospitality we had encountered over the past few hours. I had no idea how friendly Minnesotans were. Honestly, really never had a reason to think about it.  So being the good southern gals that we are we had the waiter deliver drinks to the nice couple ( who ended up sitting beside of us) to thank them.  Only to have them send a round back to us 🙂  Crazy! Full from lunch, we decided to share bacon wrapped Elk loin. Yum! The Happy Gnome was awesome its a don’t miss if you are in St. Paul.

Saturday arrived and we had no plans other than dinner with our new St. Paul friends. We shared text throughout the day and firmed up our dinner plans. Leigh and I worried what if they got caught up in the moment and invited us to dinner and now regretted it.  Little did we know the St. Paul gals were having similar conversations wondering if the Carolina girls(Leigh&I)  would really show up.

Sara and her AWESOME Sauce photo bomb. Rambling Rose Tri, Raleigh, NC

Sara and her AWESOME Sauce photo bomb. Rambling Rose Tri, Raleigh, NC

JoAnn texted Sara(AMR.com) and told her Leigh and I were coming over for dinner.  Sara’s comment,that I found highly flattering and funny was “Jenn is AWESOME-SAUCE”  Not sure what awesome-sauce is but this SUPER-FAN  will take it! Leigh and I were so excited to have dinner with the gals and their families.  Whenever one of us would get a text we would say “Is it from our new friends”  Just too funny!

We had time to kill before dinner so we decided to explore Minneapolis, by foot, since we did not rent a car. Typically, I rent a car, for some reason we opted out on this trip.  If I were to do it again, I would likely get a car.  First stop was Marshalls, which was the best Marshall’s I have ever been to.  We loaded up on awesome workout gear, which we have not been able to find in our local Marshall’s.  The best find of the day was a Life is Good Social Networking shirt for Leigh whom is an avid around town cyclist at home and whom does NO SOCIAL MEDIA. There was no passing up this shirt. SCORE!

This was made just for leigh! She bought it!

This was made just for Leigh! She bought it!

marshallsOne of my favorite all time comments from Leigh is ” Talk to MY FACE, not my FACEBOOK”  That so needs to be a bumper sticker!  Me on the other hand loves all forms of social media!   Leigh is a master shopper, so I found a nice leather chair in Marshall’s and took a social media break. I had to rest my legs…after all we were running 26.2 miles in less than 24 hours.

Next stop was the two story Target for provisions and h2omore shopping for Leigh, I forgot shopping was one of her skills:)  I got my traditional “big gulp” of water.  For some reason, part of the tradition, is I drink it straight from the bottle. I see no reason to  break tradition at this point.  After shopping we headed back to the hotel rested up and got ready for dinner with our St. Paul Friends.

Cab Selfie on way to dinner at Amy's

Cab Selfie on way to dinner at Amy’s

We were greeted by Amy who said “Can you believe you are at a strangers house for dinner?” I stated that Leigh and I laughed about it being the setting for an Another Mother Runner murder plot. 🙂  We all laughed  at the re-telling of how Leigh and I came to be dinner guest.  Everyone was so welcoming.  We shared great food, drinks, stories, and laughs!  It was like we had known everyone for a lifetime. Thought #3- I could live here. These people are so awesome!

Eric&Amy our adorable host

Eric&Amy our adorable host

Amy & Shannon sporting their compression gear!

Amy & Shannon sporting their compression gear!

Dinner Crew!

Dinner Crew and our New St. Paul Friends!

Shannon & Jo

Shannon & Jo

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end we had a big day ahead of us. We said our goodbyes and planned to hook up after the marathon for the post party at JoAnn’s. Wow! The most hospitable people I have ever met. Thought #4- I could live here! This neighborhood is precious and my neighbors would be great!

JoAnn, insisted on taking Leigh and I back to our hotel in Minneapolis (30 miles round trip).  There was no arguing this with her as she wanted to drive us along the marathon course route.  BONUS! I always drive the route and due to lack of car I had not seen any of the course.  Despite the darkness, we got a great personalized breakdown of a good portion of the course and the area. What a great night! JoAnn shared she had given AMR Sara the same course preview last year.

6:00am came to fast!  Fortunately, we were only several blocks from the Metrodome. The sun was shinning (rain was in the forecast) and temps were in the 40’s.  Perfect day for running. Finding our way to the bag check and starting coral was painless due to awesome volunteers. I did spot coffee, water, and pre-race snacks for the runners but we did not partake.

At the Start!

At the Start!

Off and running!

Off and running!

The course is just as described America’s Most Beautiful Urban Marathon! The course completely lived up to the description via TCMevents.org.

With mile after mile of parkways, lakes, rivers and tree-lined boulevards, the scenery can’t be beat. Add 300,000 screaming fans, 10 Cheer Zones, over a dozen course entertainment acts, and you’ve got an experience that you’ll never forget.
Somewhere between miles 5-6

Somewhere between miles 5-6

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The point to point course course winds around four beautiful lakes and along both sides of the Mississippi River. The course contains a few rolling hills; but with a starting and finishing elevation of approximately 840 feet and no climbs over 100 feet long, it’s nothing you can’t handle. 
The might Mississippi

The might Mississippi

The final stretch races past the clanging bells of the Saint Paul Cathedral and downhill onto the spectacular view of the State Capitol and the finish line!

The course will not disappoint!  Crowd support was HUGE! If you desire lots of support this is the marathon for you.  I would argue the crowds are bigger or equal to the Marine Corps Marathon.  There were VERY few spots without spectators. As a serenity runner, I found the crowds to be overwhelming at times. I learned to really appreciate the crowd free zones. Certainly, not meant to be a negative comment it is just based on personal preference. The course is flat.  Much flatter than I expected.  I would not classify this course as rolling hills( based on what I train on).   My hips reminded me most of the 26.2 miles I was running flat. The occasional incline was a welcome relief.  I do love to run some hills!

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Thad & Eric

I spotted Eric and Thad ( Amy and Shannon’s husbands) very early whom were spectating and cheering from their bikes.  They yelled encouragement every time they saw us. It was so great. Around mile 5 we found Amy and Shannon on the course.  We pinged back and fourth and finally joined running forces somewhere in the second half.  Somewhere before the half we saw JoAnn, Holi,and Jess.  Perfect timing as I was in need of a pick me up.  As wonderful as the course , weather , and general surroundings were I was not feeling my best. Surprisingly, Leigh and I ran the majority of the race in silence (anyone who knows us finds this SHOCKING!).  We were both silently struggling but doing our best to take it all in and enjoy the experience.  We agreed early on we came too far to impose ourselves with time goals.  Our #1 goals was to finish and enjoy! That we did! I have to thank our St. Paul friends for their on course support. They were the ENJOYMENT factor! Every time we turned around they were there!  1,215 miles from home and we have our own pack of roving  fans! “Go Carolina Girls!”  I can still hear Jess ” GET DOWN!”

While running I snapped this pic of our cheer squad!

While running I snapped this pic of our cheer squad! Mother Runners Rock!

We did not HIT the Wall at mile 20 we ran right thru it!

We did not HIT the Wall at mile 20 we ran right thru it!

Summit Ave! Still Smiling!

Summit Ave! Still Smiling!

St. Paul & Carolina Gals!

St. Paul & Carolina Gals!

I cannot say enough about this course. The locals embrace every aspect of the marathon weekend.  They have huge parties in their front yards with inflatables for the children.  One house had several large tents, picnic tables and were having a huge pancake breakfast! Too bad we could not stop in for some additional carbs. The mid race drizzle did not negatively impact the spirit of this event.  Rain or shine…twin Cities Marathon is a celebration!

Mother Runner Fans! post doughnut hole stop!

Mother Runner Fans! post doughnut hole stop…hence JoAnn’s full mouth. Roving fans need fuel too!

We happily crossed the finish line! Marathon #14 (Me) and #2 (Leigh) were done! Fantastic race!

DONE!

DONE!

imageWe met up with our St. Paul gals to celebrate!

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Another Mother Runner BOND!

Another Mother Runner St. Paul and Carolina Gals!

I can honestly say what started out as an Another Mother Runner CONNECTION through the miles transitioned to an Another Mother Runner BOND! These ladies(and gents), all of them, got me through!  I am forever grateful for the memories and new friendships!

JoAnn braved the traffic and picked us up and transported us to her house for the after party celebration.  We enjoyed awesome BBQ beef, chips, sweets, etc! It was a great way to top off an awesome day!

Jo's post marathon Bash!

Jo’s post marathon Bash!

Mike, Peg, and Jo!

Mike, Peg, and Jo!

imageAfter a great celebration, JoAnn once again insisted on taking us back to Minneapolis.  But oh no we could not go empty handed..she send us with a bottle of wine. Simply amazing! Never ending hospitality! Thought #5- I could live here. I am nice and cozy. I don’t want to leave, or for this weekend to be over.

Leigh and I were so grateful as we reflected on our Twin cities experience. I told Leigh this was a once in a life time marathon weekend experience that would be hard to top!

As I said earlier, what started as an Another Mother Connection quickly transitioned to an Another Mother Runner BOND!  The connection of runners, especially mother runners, is something very special.  Its hard to put to words…..its an experience!

“Its that bond of female runners that makes me want to be a better runner-to push a little harder”

~Cheri hill Lombardo

Thanks for the memories St. Paul friends.  We are looking  forward to our 2014 running reunion weekend!

Plane Selfie we sent to our St. Paul friend to say good bye!

Plane Selfie we sent to our St. Paul friend to say good bye!

Thought #6- I could live here!…. Reality, I would miss my family, and truth be told this SOUTHERN BORN and raised North Carolinian who does not even own anything close to a winter coat or snow gear would not survive the first day of fall…much less winter.  I now have some great friends in St. Paul and have a reason to visit!

Finished product! I surprised Leigh with one as well!

Finished product! I surprised Leigh with one as well!

As a thank you for the fabulous hospitality, Leigh and I sent our St. Paul gals personalized water bottles from aquavation.org.  Aquavation, a personal favorite, is a gift that keeps giving! Aquavation donates 20% of each bottle to a designated charity partner.  I designated Blue Ridge Boxer Rescue as the beneficiary.  Fitting since we are all dog lovers!  Check out aquavation.org!

shot of my computer screen.  Image printed on the bottles

shot of my computer screen. Image printed on the bottles

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Finish & Enjoy…Big Sur Marathon Plan

8th State, 13th Marathon, and my #1 all time favorite!

Big Sur International Marathon, April 28, 2013!

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Wow, is all I can say.  Everything about the Big Sur Marathon weekend exceeded my expectations.  Big Sur, is sitting pretty in my number #1 best overall marathon in every category.  I have often pondered keeping a running ranking of my marathon adventures and this just might inspire me to do that.

For anyone who asked about my experience I explained that Big Sur is the only marathon I have ever run that I enjoyed almost every single mile. If it weren’t for the uphill on mile 25, I would say I enjoyed EVERY mile. The pain of mile 25 was brief, just generally not appreciated so late in the race.

2, 765 miles!

2, 765 miles!

So what made the Big Sur miles so much more enjoyable than the previous 316.4? (12 x 26.2 + extra two miles on my ultra attempt) .  I am not exactly sure, but I will attribute it to  having just one single goal – Finish & Enjoy!

MY BIG SUR MARATHON PLAN! 

( taken directly from pre-race communication)

This is a difficult course and you should plan on adding extra minutes to your usual marathon time. Walk if necessary, Enjoy the spectacular music and scenery along the course and don’t worry about your time!

 I took the pre-race communications to heart and put them to action. The last thing I wanted to do was travel 2,765 miles and beat myself up over a missed PR. A mere 13 days after the attacks on Boston, just being able to run, in honor of those who cannot was a gift in itself.  

Despite Big Sur being my all time favorite marathon, I have struggled to feel inspired to put it into words.  (Hence,the delay of the race recap).  So I thought I would let my pictures tell the story

View from terrace

View from terrace

Lodging– Hotel Pacific, located right next to the expo, and block away from marathon transportation was fabulous.  Our room was huge and full of amenities.  It included a sitting area with gas fireplace, small dinning area with fridge, bathroom perfect for sharing with two showers etc  We loved it and felt like we were in a honeymoon suite.

http://www.hotelpacific.com/

courtyard view from room

Pre Marathon Relaxation

Pre Marathon Relaxation, while listening to Big Sur “Grand Piano Man” Michael Martinez

Our Bibs! Way to go Laura on Boston 2 Big Sur!

Our Bibs! Way to go Laura on Boston 2 Big Sur!

Race Expo- Monterey Conference Center. Was easy to navigate, staffed with super friendly volunteers, and hosted lots of great vendors.  We typically breeze through the expos(you’ve seen one you have seen them all) but this one we took our time to enjoy! My highlight was officially meeting Runners World, Chief Running Officer, Bart Yasso! I was giddy with excitement and was able to contain myself! The previous November, Bart gave me a “fist bump” during the Richmond, VA Marathon when I spotted him on the sidelines.  I am a huge fan!  His book My Life On The Run, is a great running read.

Bart Man!

Me and Bart Man!

Expo continued…the support for Boston was everywhere!

Runners signed banners in support of Boston and were able to contribute to The One Fund

Runners signed banners in support of Boston and were able to contribute to The One Fund

We met Michael Martinez, Big Sur “Grand Piano Man” who famously sits at mile 13.1 and plays his  Grand Piano. We purchased his CD.

Laura and i with David

Laura and I with Michael

No pictures of the expo massages but they were awesome and well worth $1 a minute!

Our weekend wheels! Fiat

Our weekend wheels! Fiat

Saturdays Highway 1 adventures – We drove through Monterrey Cannery Row. Although fabulous, and the best aquarium I have ever seen, we skipped visiting the  Monterrey Bay Aquarium in an effort to stay off our feet. Instead, we drove the 17-mile drive,  lunched in Carmel-by-the-Sea, and then headed down Highway 1 to Big Sur.

The Lone Cypress, one of the sights on the 17 mile drive

Lone Cypress- Americas most photographed Tree

Lone Cypress- Americas most photographed Tree

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Lunch at Hogs Breath Inn!

Total tourist shot after lunch at Hogs Breath Inn. Thanks Uncle Zeke for recommendation...your hat is on its way!

Total tourist shot after lunch at Hogs Breath Inn. Thanks Uncle Zeke for recommendation…your hat is on its way!

Laura at Big Sur Bakery...too full to partake

Laura at Big Sur Bakery…too full to partake

ahhh...the view.  Gotta love Big Sur

ahhh…the view. Gotta love Big Sur

Bixby Bridge mile 13.1

Bixby Bridge mile 13.1

amazing coastal  views....

amazing coastal views….

starting line coffee

starting line coffee

Marathon Day- Early start as we loaded the buses to Big Sur at 4:15am.  Luckily, we only had to walk a block from our hotel. Its an early start, but its a major effort on the event organizers to transport runners 26.2 miles down two laned Highway 1.  In addition to the marathon Big Sur offers a Relay, 21, 10.6, 9, and 5k mile option.

1st race I have even participated in that offered water, coffee and food at the start!  Super bonus points for that!

Huddled to stay warm with fellow runners!

Huddled to stay warm with fellow runners!

Starting line

Starting line

Two Thumbs up from Bart Yasso prior to the start!

Pre-start Bart Sighting

Pre-start Bart Sighting

6:45am and we were off and running!  As part of my Finish & Enjoy Marathon Plan, I brought my phone to take pictures along the way.  The official description describes Big Sur Marathon  as a Point to point, moderately difficult, with live entertainment on the course. Featuring rolling hills, Big Sur is the largest rural marathon in the world, winding through redwoods, paralleling ranches, and offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

BigsurElevation

I often stopped to catch a glace of where I had come from.  The view looking back is just as good as the views ahead.  It is 360 degrees of sheer beauty.

Mile 5 9 guess, looking back

Mile 5 (best guess), looking back

Just when I thought we might escape the famous headwinds, the course opened up and so did the wind. It was wicked but manageable.  Even the cows ran for cover….I was not as fortunate

Cows retreating from the winds

Cows retreating from the winds

If the winds were not enough , we soon caught the first glimpses of Hurricane Point (550 foot climb over 2 miles) starting at mile 10. I am proud to say I slayed Hurricane Point by running the entire way.  I was determined not to stop!

1st views of Hurricane Point

1st views of Hurricane Point

Way before you could see the Bixby Bridge, which famously signifies the halfway point on the marathon course, you could hear the the tones  from the Grand Piano.  It was absolutely surreal and uplifting. One of my favorite memories.  As  I approached the Bixby Bridge,  I found myself overcome with emotion and fought back unexpected tears. My best guess is they were tears of shear joy as i was having an awesome run! I attempted a short video that really does it no justice at all

The mile markers, each 7 foot tall, where the BEST, I have ever seen. They ranged from completely stupid, funny, to inspiring.  They had a unique way of telling a story and really personalizing the marathon to the region, local runners,  and area. Take a look for yourself- Big Sur Mile Marker Project.

13.1 Mile Marker

13.1 Mile Marker

attempt at picture with Michael Martinez...this makes me laugh

attempt at picture with Michael Martinez…this makes me laugh

Windy shot taken by a fellow runner.  My skirt looks like I was about to take flight.

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The end was in view, first glimpses of CarmelIMG-20130428-00192

Fresh strawberries at mile 24! Yummy!

Mile 24 treat!

Mile 24 treat!

The description for mile marker 25 says it all, about my only UNenjoyable mile of the entire course.  This “Doomsayer” needs to lighten up! You may be feeling a bit down at this point, but with the finish just over a mile away, the end to your race is just over the next hill. 

Doom uphill Mile!

Doom uphill Mile!

Finally, 26.2! The race Directors and organizers, donned in their BSIM Blue blazers, shook the hands of participants as they cross the finish!  Total class act! This years finish line included  the Boston Marathon Executive Director who personally shook the hands of EVERY Boston 2 Big Sur participant. It was amazing to watch as . Emotions were still very raw and many were moved to tears.

My bonus was a congratulations hug from Bart Yasso! Promise I am a fan and not a stalker!

With Laura, being a Boston 2 Big Sur participant, we enjoyed the awesome finishers tent that overlooked the finish line. I only joined her after I partook in the free 10 minute massage.

We did it!

We did it!

Laura’s Medals

Boston 2 Big Sur Bling

Boston 2 Big Sur Bling

It was amazing! Pleased with my 4:54:47 finish, which included 2 pit stops, and numerous video and  photo ops. It was not my fastest, nor my slowest but was my STRONGEST physical and mental FINISH.  My Finish & Enjoy Marathon Plan carried me through.  My only expectation was to enjoy and take it all in.  I accomplished that an much more!

I do have to credit Raleigh CrossFit, which I included in the last month of my training plan. I feel a new addiction brewing! #RaleighStrong!

Traditional post marathon margarita, overlooking Monterey Bay!

Traditional post marathon margarita, overlooking Monterey Bay!

035One and done in California! Big Sur International  Marathon was an excellent choice! This race should be on every Marathon bucket list!

Mark you calendars registration for 2014 opens July 15th.  It typically sells out in a matter of days so don’t delay. Register, train, and Finish & Enjoy!

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Quitters Don’t Run. #Runners Don’t Quit! Boston Strong!

Richmond, VA Marathon Fall 2012

Richmond, VA Marathon Fall 2012

I spend the hours prior to the Boston Marathon attack trying to view the live web stream, follow the Twitter feed, track my BRF(best running friend), and work(my paid job). It was multi tasking at its best.

I was giddy with excitement for all the runners but especially for my BRF, Laura, running her 1st Boston. I had butterflies in my stomach as I tracked her progress, I compared waiting for her to cross the finish line like waiting for the arrival of a baby! I was just that excited and anxious. She rocked it and I proudly shared her accomplishments with all my “tweeps”.

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There was not much time to celebrate her accomplishment as my next tweet was a tweet regarding the bombings.

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It was unfathomable. How and why did this happen? These things don’t happen in the US. My excitement quickly faded to sheer grief, shock, and sadness.  So many things were lost that day or simply “undone” (best reflected by Sarah Bowen Shea) Boston Marathon: Undone « another mother runner.

Many difficult days lie ahead for those mourning the loss of loved ones or simply healing from their sustained injuries. Despite the losses, we as a nation, city, state, and individual(s) must respond and carry on!

Virtual Memorial Run Bib

Virtual Memorial Run Bib

Although I was not physically in Boston on the day of the attacks, the assault is personal in that is targeted my loved sport and fellow running community. Its hard not to take that personally! Runners are committed, determined, and perhaps a little hard headed. We push through physical limitations in quest of the next best thing. We carry on! We suffer set backs and  limp every once in a while but the determination to get back out there and do it again is always there. No deranged terrorist will keep us from the love of our support! We don’t quit!

In time, the freshness and sting of the Boston attacks will fade. However, the memories will remain. I pledge to honor those whose lives were forever changed every time I “toe the line” at a running event!  Cheers to running free! Carry on!  #BostongStrong

Boston Memorial Run, Raleigh, NC- 3,000 strong!

Raleigh Boston Memorial Run

Raleigh Boston Memorial Run

Me with BRF's Katherine and Mary Anne!

Me with BRF’s Katherine and Mary Anne!

 

3,000 runners strong! Raleigh runners respond

3,000 runners strong! Raleigh runners respond

 

New Beginnings....

New Beginnings….

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