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Thursday, July 14, 2011

2012 Peaks Ultra 500

Race Name: 2012 Peaks Ultra
Location: Pittsfield
State: Vermont, U.S.A.
Name of Event: Peaks Ultra 500
Distance: 500
Measurement: Miles
Date: Thursday May 3rd, 2012
Start Time: 6:00 PM

No turning back now.....I have stepped in this pile and it is just too messy to try to scrape off...best to just breathe through my mouth and move forward with purpose...ignoring the looks of disgust from those around me and hold my head high....

Crazy.  That word has been used to describe me...and it is funny in just how many different ways this one word can be taken depending on who is uttering it..... 
Ex boyfriends hmmmm not often used in a positive light as we know all men call their exes crazy to give a reason why a relationship ends (lol being tongue in cheek here for those of you who do not get humor) (then again just recently the word "demons" instead of "crazy"..was used in regards to me but then again I guess it really just means the same thing lol again being funny)
People at my gym... always positive
My family.. well that depends...the word "crazy" is often followed with a sigh and a shake of the head if it is my mum....so not really negative just said wearily as in "what has she gone and done now....I did not raise her to be this way".

I love running.  I will never be super fast and I have plenty more DNF's ahead of me I imagine so what makes me think I can run 500 miles?  Well I will have from May 4th until May 13th to run 500 miles... I think that is around 240 hours give or take...if I do 60 miles a day I can run 500 miles in the time given.  My own pace with breaks when I want them.  I have run the ten mile loop and it is pretty...tough but pretty nonetheless.  I will be on the course with few people I imagine to start and so I will have long periods of quiet reflection or more aptly long periods where my mind is blank and empty of all thoughts...my own kind of meditation.  Yep I can do it and more importantly it sounds like something I would actually enjoy doing....crazy??? Nah...not really...ice climbing and sleeping on a hammock thingy stuck to a ledge off of a sheer cliff face in the freezing cold..ugh that is my definition of crazy..running 500 miles in 9 days may be someones definition of crazy..but it ain't mine.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Death Race 2011

4 a.m. Scotland….I can’t sleep.


The Death Race has been at the forefront of my thoughts for the past nine months, and yet it seems like this adventure started so long ago….so much has happened in my life from the day I went online and signed up till today. I sit here in the kitchen of this mansion drinking coffee from a china cup and it is all a bit surreal…so very different from my tiny studio over the garage in Framingham. I am having a difficult time being truly comfortable with the decision to come to Scotland…no gym…food far too rich and fatty (too many malted milk balls, glasses of wine and snacking). My sleep pattern is fucked up and my wrist is as well. The opportunity to come here is an amazing gift…but it comes on the heels of something that is raw inside me…it is hard to separate DR from Scotland and because of this…because I am not easily understood and what I chose to do…. the way I choose to live my life….it is causing some discord and I am troubled and hurt by it… in truth I should know by now that what is not easily understood is often suspect and I have been portrayed in a certain light for a very long time. I have come to the conclusion that you must pick your battles….and this is not a battle I will pick instead I will shut my mouth…take the scolding…strengthen my resolve to live the way I want to live…to turn the other cheek.

Roy understands the importance of DR for me…he was wonderful…I had so much fun with Roy. Hiking those gorgeous mountains…well I had forgotten the joy I feel just from running trails… and to run down that amazing mountain…. well it was a gift…a bit of healing you can say and I owe Roy for that gift. I have such amazing friends. So many people including but not limited to Kev, Julie, and Dave who took time away from their own lives to help me try to achieve something that meant so much to me….so selfless….what did I do to deserve these friends? I am blessed.

Although I have come to terms with some of the experience well other aspects not so much and I have been really struggling to find the way to share my DR experience with the few people who read my blog. This one is tough as it is not resolved… the lingering physical aches and pains will eventually be gone but how long will it take me to mentally heal? To wrap my mind around the race and the outlier experiences that are intrinsically tied to this experience. I know that my blog has always helped me to work through things so I will continue to have faith in that and just start where every story must start…at the beginning.

Kev and I headed up Thursday night. I picked him up from the train station and I felt so relaxed, confident but not cocky, just a feeling that heading to Pittsfield is exactly what I should be doing this weekend….that I am in a perfect moment in time and doing what I was meant to do. I was not scared although I kept telling people I was “good” scared…I guess that really just meant I was excited and my adrenaline was flowing. We went straight to a little dive bar called Jax where the locals hang out. I found this place the night before the death camp the weekend of McNaughton. They have the most amazing wings and the greatest bar staff and I knew Kev would like this place. I wanted the wings but decided against that because I knew I would have intestinal distress…I love wings more than anything…they are my crack. Instead I ate a plate of veges and hummus and grilled chicken. Had a glass of wine and then we called it a night and headed off to the Swiss Inn (this place is awesome and the owners are so nice). I slept well all things considered.  In the morning I am up and putting my hair in my braids as I always do for a race.

Kev and I had breakfast and met up with William C., Joe Crupi and someone else (hmmm super nice guy but I forgot his name…dang…I am terrible with names) I gave them their tools. And they gave me like 10 boxes of orange tic tacs!!! Yummy!!! I had been talking with William over txts and had offered up a bunch of extra tools for him since he was flying in for the race. A few other racers John M, Joe, Pete, Erica, Dan, and I forgot who else donated to Johnny’s POGO charity so I brought tools with new bits for them to use. I brought a bunch of extras which was good as a racer showed up without one…I was a girl scout until the 12th grade so I am uber prepared, dorky, but prepared. Then Jay, Dennis and Jay’s sister Ashley showed up for breakfast. Ashley was doing support and I have heard so much about her from Jay and she was everything I thought she would be. We saw Sophie there and boy is she a cutie….so beautiful, sweet, and yet tough as hell. It was her birthday and she had flowers waiting for her at the Inn. Dennis had some rope for her and he showed all of us how to do the swiss seat in case we had to climb… everyone but me was familiar with it. It is a silly looking contraption as it makes your woohoo look like you have this huge package. Sophie was the model and it was so funny…actually it was even more funny when Dennis did it.

Jay and Dennis pretty much rock. They have the same sense of humor as me…and what really means a lot is that they get me…I swear like a pirate and what comes out of my mouth would at times give my poor mother a heart attack. I don’t pretend to be anyone other than who I am…so to me one of the most important aspects of this race was meeting Dennis, Jay and John Mcevoy. I feel like I have met guys that I will be friends with and that I can train with and who respect and like me for me. My training takes up such a big part of my life and it is one of the things that brings me such joy so to be able to find people who feel the same way…well that means something…..the thing I am coming to understand about the Death Race is it is truly a gift. I don’t think Joe and Andy realize people like me consider their race in this light, but I do.

After Jay fixed the straps on my pack and showed me again how to get in and out of it with ease we sat around a bit gabbing before heading to Amee farm to claim our spot. Kev and I carried our stuff to the top of the cess pool hill and gosh the smell was awful. We started to set up camp when a guy comes over and asks if any of us would be willing to be interviewed. Jay and Dennis yell “she would” and point to me. I thought what the hell I will take my fifteen minutes here and now : ) So I was interviewed by something called Spartan television. Now here is the kicker about this interview as well as the interview I did over the phone for NewsWeek’s The Daily Beast…I ended the interview saying the only thing I am truly afraid of is regret and I will finish this race…that they would have to pull me off the course for me not to finish….as I type this it seems so strange considering what happened.

We got in line to do our interview. While we were in line Joe came over and asked for volunteers. I can’t explain why but I always volunteer when it comes to physical labor. I find it helps me to get into the right mind set to clear out cobwebs and such. So for the next two hours I basically just did as Joe said which was to move rocks and hay bales and pipes filled with water and logs all around the general vicinity of the farm. What we were really doing was setting up the first task for all the racers which ended up being a 5 hour “cleans” marathon. But at the time I did not know that and just took it as something Joe does to keep us busy and keep us guessing : ) I got back in line when we were told to buy a fishing license for 20 bucks. It ended up being that Joe and Andy just needed these I believe to get permission for so many people to be walking through the river. I can only imagine how many loops Joe must jump through in terms of the gov’t branch that deals with natural areas of VT. Anyone who complains about the price of this race….basically anyone who complains period should just shut the fuck up because they have no idea what these two men must go through to get shit done. So I gladly paid my twenty. I see Tom. He looked happy and excited and I truly hoped he would finish…he txted me after the race to see how I was healing and to check on my upcoming surgery…..he made it clear that I will always have a place in his heart which was very sweet of him to say, but that part of my life is not something I think back on…the past is just that……the past…and I always try to focus on the future and move forward in life with no regrets…in fact that has always been something that is very important to me….no regrets…ever…and this was the theme of my pre-race interview. I sat in this little room to do my interview where I agreed that I am going into the experience with full knowledge of possible negative outcomes…hence youmaydie.com and death race..and they ask me questions. I talk a little bit about how my health issues have been a big part of my drive these past few years. The people closest to me know how I have struggled through a few years of ultra running due to what has been taking place with me physically…Nipmuck Dave, Kev, Stas, Garry they have first hand accounts of me hanging on by a thread during some of my races…while Tom and the kids experienced the crisis of this past winter. Others knew I was battling some serious shit while I focused on goals such as Stonehead or to tackling WS…my scars (some visible some not) and my tats mark milestones in my battle…my body is something that I continue to try to come to a state of equilibrium with….at times I love it and at other times I curse it for failing me..I tried to share some of this in my interview without coming across as some sick 41 year old oh woe is me...feel sorry for me or aren’t I so inspiring kind of crapola…it is difficult to know what to say and who to say it to as I am not that much of a talker I am more of a doer…I am not sure what my interview was like…but I know I spoke of regret. I can’t abide by it…..it is worse than cancer..it is far more insidious and to me is what I am truly afraid of...well that and water but more on the water phobia later…

Interview done Jay, Dennis, Ashley, Kev and I head down to the church. When I get there the twins are looking for Jay, Dennis and I. Joe wants us to sit in the front pew because we, along with like 5 other guys, did the most work or something when he asked for help. That was nice as I am 80% deaf in one ear so I would not have heard much from the back of the church. I am not religious, but I am spiritual. I have always loved church though…does not matter what kind I like temple as well. I just have always loved to listen to sermons, and this one was no exception. I loved what he had to share about finding the strength within yourself to forge ahead. I knew I had that strength in me…anyone who knows me knows I do not quit and I bear my pain silently…I have been called intense, cold, aloof, and at the same time people call me silly, outgoing, and up for anything. I think it is easier for me to be the aloof and intense self then the silly and outgoing self because I am more internal than external.

As I listened to the sermon I was thinking about  types of negative traits that I struggle with….I was listing in my head my strengths and then I was listing all my weaknesses and I realize that I have a shit load of weakness…it is funny because I am constantly saying “I like myself just the way I am and I won’t have people trying to change me”, and yet as I sat in that church I questioned whether or not I really deserved to be there…I questioned my motives, my strength, my fortitude…I questioned ME. I wanted to look within myself and push away all the cobwebs so that I could see myself with blinding certainty. I want to break through to the marrow of me…there are still so many walls I have built that need to be knocked down…I wondered if the next few days would help me to clarify or would it just make the waters more murky… I sit here drinking coffee in the silence of the kitchen…the 27 hours I spent doing DR is somewhat a blur and hard to recall all the details but I will do my best. This is not really a race report but more a reflection of my experiences.

We leave the church to walk back to the barn where the race begins. Joe starts calling off numbers and we are placed in groups I believed at first I was in a group with Dennis and Jay but then they kicked me out…I was so bummed and spent the next few minutes walking around trying to find what group I was really in. Finally I move to a group, it was a large one, and I joined them. In hindsight I am so very glad that I did as the gentlemen in this group were absolutely amazing. The next 5 hours I worked with these men to clean over 15 rocks, weighing from 10 lbs to I believe heavy as 70 lbs, a hay bale, a pipe almost as long as me and at least a foot in circumference filled with water and then 4-5 other rocks weighing between 50 and 90 lbs (guessing here on actual weights but the stones in the center took two people to clean and the pipe at least 4 people). We were told we would do 150 sets…a set consisted of each of us doing a clean with the fifteen rocks in the outer circle then stepping into the center and as a group lifting the 4 to 5 other rocks, the hay bale and the pipe all at the same time. So for me that was 16 cleans per set multiplied by about 80 because after every 30 sets the 20 or so women got out for 5 sets….I am not sure how fair this was to the men but the problem was there were always at least 2 rocks I could not clean on my own and I would need the men in my group to help me. They had to keep their packs on but the women could take them off…did they work harder than me? I can only say that based on my size 5’4” and 107 lbs I worked very hard to clean those rocks and always used the best form I could. I think if asked they would say I did my job and did not complain a single time. In truth I loved this task…it was so fricken crazy to do that many presses…it is amazing what your body can deal with and how far you can push it. I am not sure if my wrist was fractured during this task or from the fall but it may not make sense to people but it was worth the pain now to see how far I could push my body. Mark made sure to stand close by to give me water and Kev had Ensure on hand. Julie and Kev were really amazing…without support this race would have been far more difficult.

After about 5 hours they told us to stop grab our packs and follow them. The next task was to walk to the river get in and do a 3 mile hike down the river to a beach. It was at this time I hooked up with John McEvoy and I am so glad I did. He is a calm and focused man and very determined…the perfect training partner…never a complaint a positive attitude and an open heart and mind….a good man. This was not exactly hard, in fact I was the first woman to get to the beach. This first part was kind of exciting. It was scary when we had to cross the river but John held my hand otherwise I would have been swept away…the current was very strong and again my size does not help..at times it was up past my boobs and difficult and other times it was just awkward as the rocks were slippery. It was strange to be walking it in the pitch black…I held a flashlight in my mouth for the entire trek. When we got to the beach they f’ed with us by making us sit there cold and wet and wait for all 150 racers to reach the beach….then they sent us back in the river. I was not getting too cold at this time and this kind of amazed me…hypothermia is a serious thing with me and I have been hospitalized two times in the past for this…the most serious at VT50 where they could not get a pulse and my body’s core temperature was so low they put me in one of those huge bubble things after rushing me to the ER. So I was tickled pink to find I was not that cold. When we finally got out of the river from that second hike we were at a big field where the lower section had a pond. Kev was there to meet me which was very reassuring. We were told to go stand in the pond up to our waist for 5 minutes. I went in and immediately saw Hobie in there totally shaking like a leaf…I went over and hugged his body and rubbed his back and arms trying to keep him warm. He has no body fat and the water tasks are hard for Hobie and usually me because I have no body fat either. My five minutes were pretty easy and I thought yippee this will be a snap! Then my world came crashing down…Joe told us that we would be required to swim across the pond with our packs on then climb a steep wall of mud and barb wire and then grab a lit candle and walk around a field keeping the candle lit or we would have to start again…and we were to repeat this process 7 times… it was at this time that I turned to Kevin and said I would have to quit. I was terrified as the water and swimming is something I do not like or do…there was no way I could make it across that pond with my pack even with the rope to grab on to. Kev gave me a pep talk and said that I needed to just try. It is hard for me to recall this task as I was so terrified it is impossible to really get across how my heart pounded in my chest. When I jumped in that pond and made my way out grabbing onto the rope I was the closest I think I will ever be to drowning…the pack pulled me down and I was crying and I think possibly screaming for Kevin…I don’t know how I managed to struggle across that pond but when I climbed up and out of the embankment I was ready to quit. I could not manage 6 more swims with my pack….Jay and Dennis said they would carry my pack and help me along…how can I explain how much this meant to me…William and Erica also said they would help me…and yet I did not want to have to depend on them to make it further in the race. I guess it was at this point that Jay and Dennis went and talked with Joe. I don’t know what they said but they came back to me and said Joe said I could do this task without my pack and take a penalty at the end of the race…I went and checked with Joe and he said he would make it really tough something involving an extra hike…knowing it would be tough and I would feel like I made up for the swim without the pack Again proof that Jay and Dennis are amazing men and I am so blessed by their friendship. I agreed to try to continue on with the swimming..mind you I was still terrified and swimming across that pond that night was far scarier than any operation or procedure I have had these past 5 years…I don’t want to spend too much time reliving this but I will add how amazing the support was that I got from my fellow racers : ) so many positives from this experience…people reaching out to one another…so many people would yell out encouragement when I entered that pond….and their positive reinforcement helped buoy me up : ) literally. I ended up doing 8 swims and not 7 because I was so “in the zone” I entered the last time at a full throttle run and Kev did not have time to yell out to me that I was done! When I was done I have to admit I was a bit cold : ) I was given a solar blanket but I immediately saw other racers freezing in shorts and t-shirts so I got a group of them together and put the blanket over them and stood behind them and started to rub their arms and backs to get the circulation going..it was raining and we had to sit and wait for the final two swimmers who ended up being pulled by Joe due to hypothermia. We were punished as a group I guess for wasting too much time around the fire? Joe had everyone take off their shoes, but me as I was swimming the entire time, and he poured oil or something in them and threw all the shoes into the woods where there was poison ivy. Since I had my shoes I went in with Jay and Dennis (who has no shoes) and retrieved as many shoes as I could find. We were then sent away from this area back into the river to walk to the next task…as the sun had come up things seemed a bit brighter and the terror of the pond swim was far behind me. I felt strong, and although I went from first at the start of the river walk to the last group to leave the task I did not care…I was on cloud nine that I had swam across a pond 8 times and it was cold and rainy and I was no keeling over from hypothermia..yippee!!

The next task was at a person’s home. It turned out to be a woman we had met at the Swiss Inn the day before at breakfast. She told us that her home was part of the race course and that she was looking forward to seeing us out there. We started with three logs that needed to be cut into 8-10 pieces I believe. The problem with these logs is that Andy and Joe got the crappiest wood they could get with knots and the wood was wet. The first two pieces I cut relatively fast but that last piece…ugh it took me over 1.5 hours to cut it. I had Joe and an elderly stranger and the woman who owns the house there cheering me on. I WOULD NOT GIVE UP but that damn log was the bane of my existence…I could not stop smiling and laughing when my stinking axe would get stuck in the woods and it would take all me energy to pull the damn thing out. The elderly gentleman was very upset because he said he saw two people cheating and was upset that I spent 1.5 hours cutting my one log and they were able to move on….he said he was going to tell someone about it and that it was not fair. I told him not to worry it is the nature of the race and they were probably just helping each other and we are allowed to do that during the race…it was funny that I was trying to calm this gentleman’s worries and explain why it was ok all the while I am struggling with this silly log…I guess he reminded me of my dad : ) In DR each person does their own thing and it is not my concern what anyone does other than me : ) I loved all the positive encouragement I got from everyone while I was chopping away…Joe was really great and I realized the absurdity of the situation when I was second to last to finish cutting the first three logs. I never gave up though and never let the situation bother me…I kept laughing and talking with Joe.  It is not worth getting frustrated and angry during DR. Two people next two me had finished the mountain hike and one was cutting up a log while the other was eating..I was horrified when one of them screamed and swore at an elderly gentleman who also reminded me of my dad…I realize just how frustrated and emotional this process is for people…I am sad though as I would have given anything to have my dad standing here giving me words of wisdom and his big smile….I felt sorry for this person because it was done in the public forum and I wish I was not privy to the scene.

I am still cutting away at my log when I look over and see these two gentlemen putting on their packs as they are done with all the tasks at this stop and were ready to leave….one guy comes over and says to me “give me your axe” with 5 swipes this lovely man cut my log up into its final pieces hands the axe back to me and was on his way : ) Racers are allowed to help other racers….others had asked me if they could help earlier with this piece..but I wanted to do it on my own….at this point though I would have been here forever…I felt ok that I tried for 1.5 hours and I was ready to move on…next year either I gain like 20 lbs or I get a better axe : )

At this point I run over to a volunteer and say “what’s next”. He tells me to find a log with a W on it and carry it up the mountain and back down. There are not many left and they are all pretty big. I wander around and find one that is big but not insane….I spend about 5 minutes trying to rig up some sort of carrying system and then say “fuck it” and just wrap my arms around it and take off. I power hiked that sucker up the mountain…I would stop when it became unbearable to hold and drop it for 20 seconds I would actually count to 20 then I would heave it back up and take off. I passed about 20 people on this task : ) and went from second to last place to somewhere other than second to last…later on I spoke with Julie and Kev and they said there were people back at Amee talking about me motoring up that mountain with that log…I erased some of the embarrassment of the pond swimming debacle hahaha. Once I got to the bottom I found out I had to cut up this log as well….this of course took some time and it began to pour at the end. I saw Erica after I finished and she said she was thinking about quitting her log was just not splitting. I told her not to quit to keep chopping away at it. Erica was so awesome to me at the pond swim and I so wanted to see her finish…she has a huge heart you can tell. She is humble and kind and sweet and never once tooted her horn or tried to be the center of attention…she was there to do something for herself and not to show off….she deserved to finish…I left her chopping away at that log….I met up with a few people to enter into the river again for a hike back to Amee. It is rainy and cold at this point I think around 10 am. There is a woman with us and she is amazing… not afraid at all of the water…a real positive influence for me as the water was so scary for me. John M is there and Justin aka the barn beast…and a wonderful guy who shaved his head and eyebrows who had a kick ass attitude and life view but I forgot his name…and of course Ken who was such a positive influence for so many parts of the race. This part of the hike is really tough. I am getting very cold and then I slip and I am totally soaked I start to feel the hypothermia coming on. I wonder where the bridge is and just when I feel like my body is coming close to failing I see the bridge ahead with Kev and Julie waiting on top for me…I come out of that river and it feels like coming home : )

I walk back with the two of them and I get in line to do my next interview…I sit with my pack on and I honestly have no idea what the hell I say as I am starving and freezing….when I am done I head back to our tent and Julie helps me undress and put on dry clothes and I am so thankful for the warmth and the amazing hamburger Joe makes me and I feel rejuvenated. Dennis and Jay share with me a bit about the next task which requires us to walk up past the inn and find a log and measure and cut it (18” for chicks) and then bring it down and drill your race number in it and then carry that sucker to the top of the mountain and then back down. Ok I think I LOVE to hike so this is awesome. While drilling Andy I guess yells out whomever is still here in the next 10 minutes is pulled from the race…UGH my pack is all apart and I rush to get the shit back in lace and the log in. I leave my raincoat, hat and gloves behind and in the rush do not take any food or additional water and run pell mell away up the road towards the mountain. It turns out that Andy was an hour off and did not mean to yell this out…and after I left my support crew debated following me with food and clothes but thought well it will be an easy hike as this is Michelle’s thing….well it turned out to be a big issue as the hike took me from 2 p.m. until around 7 p.m. and I had no food except some chews and 1 gu. I had on a long sleeve t on and a cheap dollar raincoat. So I ran up and passed Joe C and John M trying to catch up with Jay and Dennis which I did. I was so happy to be back with them. The hike to the top was a fucking riot…seriously…we ran into the Glamazons and I had so much fun for that last part of the hike.

When we arrived at the top it was easy to complete the tasks…100 pushups…no problem…move logs…no problem…get log out of water…no problem as it was just on the edge of the pond…carve some writing in log…easy peasy when I borrowed a knife…I was able to take my time…in hind site I wished I had left the top a bit earlier but I needed the break as my pack was not comfortable and was killing my shoulders by the time I reached the top…and it was great to see some people at the top and especially to see Ray he looked strong and positive and I knew he would finish…so I wanted to talk and rest a bit. We finally left the top when the rain started to pour from the sky…ugh…I was in trouble. I was really hungry and the hike down was far slower do to the dangerous conditions of the trails…I was slipping and very nervous about my axe. Dennis had fashioned a cover for it at the top as mine had fallen off earlier and the axe was basically swinging right behind my head…one fall and the fucker would split my head open (in hind site I owe Dennis big time considering what came to pass). Dennis, Jay and I took to bushwhacking to avoid the trails that were sketchy. This was sometimes a positive and sometimes a negative depending on where we went. The trails were an absolute mess. At some point along the way I slip and fall forward. I hit my forehead and the axe hits me in the back of the head. At the time I don’t think twice about it. Jay sees me and asks if I am ok and I say yep…sit for a second and then slowly bring myself back to my feet. Well it was this fall that was the catalyst for a series of real shitty events. I start to feel real chilled….like seriously cold…I know this feeling and when Jay and Dennis take a break I tell them I am moving on as I am cold. I take off making mistake number 1. I am stumbling down the trail falling over and over so I start to bushwhack and lose the pink tape…I am off course but I see a fire ahead in the distance and I assume it is a task for racers that are far ahead of us. I walk towards the fire but come to find out it is William and another racer setting up for the night as they are concerned with moving forward or backward with being tired and cold. Mistake number 2 is moving on from them…William asks me to stay and I don’t even remember my response to him. It s this point that things become fuzzy. I think I remember seeing a racer and telling him to tell the guys at the burpee station I am really cold and hoping they have a way for me to war up a bit before moving on. Then I see a guy walking up who I swear has a picnic basket in dress shoes??? I think I talk with him and then I move on…I remember having an extremely upset stomach and I think I was farting or maybe I just imagined it…but the next thing I know I am at a house and then on a porch and the next thing I am in a car with the guy with the picnic basket and he is slapping my face. The next thing is Amee farm and Kev and Julie yelling at someone with a camera and then an oxygen mask and people stepping on my feet and then in an ambulance where I think I yelled at Kev or cried about the IV they put in or maybe I am making this all up.

Bottom line is after 27 hours my DR is over. I am devastated later that night when  Kev and Julie come into my room at the hospital. The doctor will not let me leave until I eat something and Julie gives me crackers and I cry and I have a broken heart. When we return back to the room and I crawl into bed I not really able to remember much of that. The next morning I am a fricken mess….sad and angry at myself and Gretchen comes to the room and she talks with me and what she says well it is between her and me but it does help. I just want to leave….to go home. To forget for the moment that my body gave out that I am not as strong as I think…that what I wanted more than anything was not to be. Jay and Dennis text me and check in with me and tell me 35 racers finished at the church and I am so very happy to know that Ray is one of them…it makes the sadness lift for a bit. Kev and I leave. On the way out he stops and grabs my log…he shares that they removed it from my pack and I want it….Dennis will train with his and so will I…

The next few days are a whirlwind of emotions. Andy sent a great email to me…and that was appreciated. But what I am experiencing is not all positive….there are arguments and some issues that come about from the race. I feel pulled in many directions….Scotland is not an easy choice and what comes from my choice to go in turn has some negative consequences… I am at once a shell and at other times my heart is so big it fills my chest…I make a choice that is negative for my health and I hurt someone in the process by going and at the same time I make someone else happy… it is never black and white…always shades of grey…. I am not easy and I have been made to feel bad about that but the truth is I am who I am and I will not continue to explain myself to people…take me or leave me…I am done with compromise and I am done with begging for forgiveness and understanding….pretending to be less of who I am because others are not self assured or others are jealous or whatever short comings they have…screw that…I have no one to answer to but me.

I wanted to finish DR…in truth it meant more to me than any man, family, my job, my health…judge me if you want…I don’t care…I don’t have to live my life by any set of rules other than the ones I set for myself.  In the end I need to be true to myself and only people who like me for me really matter I will not compromise or change...life is far too short...

 I will train harder, smarter and I will cross that finish line in 2012.