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Monday, March 31, 2014

Rumble Ramble Bumble Bamble

so many thoughts floating around in my head that I have not been able to unite any of them to write up a cohesive blog post...so instead I will just spit out some musings of mine since my last post.......
I find that I am often a lone dissenter about certain things on FB so I wonder if I am wrong and that my thoughts on certain things are just so beyond the norm that I am actually so far beyond left field I am in the car driving away...it seems as if everyone really loves people that post selfies and hourly updates on their work outs...
it seems like I am the naysayer 
the poo pooer 
the spoil sport 
the grouchy old lady that hands out toothbrushes for Halloween..

why does it bug me enough to comment on it?
some people will say
"she is probably jealous she is old and slow and smelly and wrinkly and blah blah blah.....
nah..I am all those things for sure
but I am not jealous...
I just think it is 
well
stupid
: )
and I think I think that because
well
it is inherently
stupid
its not me calling something a square peg when it is a round one...
nope
I am calling a square peg a square peg and it seems as if everyone else just likes the idea of it being round
far
better..
so I guess
I am the minority
and 
people don't like negative me
they prefer positive happy squirrel queen me

I like her too
but
I will always
be
the queen of never not broken..
so 
I can't change who I am
I will always
at times to my detriment
be the one to notice
and call out
the elephant in the room
and 
well
I better come to terms with that
and not be hurt
when people disagree 
or think
I am a grouchy old donkey's behind...

another thought I have had lately is
yes
trail running and
ultras 
have 
changed
and my personal belief is...
not always for the better
in my years of running all the WMAC club races there was only one time there was ever a negative thing said about a trail race...some guy that won a trail race coming from road running blasted how a trail race ran...
ummm
people were like
no poop
it's a trail race
totally different animal then a road race dude
you don't like it 
stick to roads...
that is it...for all the years I was Stone Head champ...I was often never in the top 3 sometimes but usually in the top 10 or 20 for women...I won because I ran every single race pretty much lol
I ran because I LOVED it 
because
no one complained EVER about slow runners or people walking races or whatever..
there was no litter on the course..
not like I see today..
the races were so cheap and most had day of race sign up...
you knew EVERYONE there...Nipmuck and Stone cat were like old home days...
I was a newbie to the scene in 2006...Nipmuck Dave was my mentor and I met all my Tuggers....the best times of my life were those first few years...
now most of the Tuggers are RD's of these races...
and I wonder what they think?
the majority of races 
are filled with good will
but lately I have sen some blog posts on the TARC website and through other peoples FB posts where they are bad mouthing the fact that trail races and trail ultras have slow runners or even 
GASP
walkers?!?
dear god what is the world coming too..
now the majority of these when you look at the blog author's picture or FB pages 
are well
young pups
so 
truth is
they don't know any better...
so I will forgive them their youth 
one day
they won't be the young ones winning
one day they may have a major injury and have to
yep
walk a few of those hills
they used to power up...
and then they too 
will have to witness the errant enthusiasm of young pups
complaining about us old folk blocking their trails...

Sponsorship
hmmmm
what exactly is it?  If you are a sponsored athlete...
someone gives you money
or stuff
and you thank those people for getting you across the finish line of a race..

baloney..

if you want it bad enough you can run an ultra or finish DR or a Tough Mudder or a survival run with clothes bought from Walmart, a freebie bag from the local library, a bottle of water from 7 Eleven and a bag of pretzels and gorp...you can run it barefoot or in sandals or in cheap sneakers...
just bring some Dollar Store sunblock, Vaseline and Gold Bond generic brand...and a few large trash bags...maybe some duct tape
and 
you
are 
good 
to go

I brought so many drop bags for my first 100...
I did not use any of them...
I was so sick to my stomach I did not eat
it got really cold at night and KZ lent me his super long t shirt and beanie hat..
I never touched a bag filled with GU and EFS and salt pills and electrolyte drinks and extra socks and extra shoes and extra clothes....
I wore the same shoes and socks the entire time..
was it easy?
no
was I smiling?
no 
at times I was on the verge of blowing chunks...Emmy and Kev had to cajole me over the last few miles to get a 27 hour finish...
would any sponsored crap you buy from REI or online gotten me a faster finish?
nope..
I got myself across that finish line because I wanted it...
why did I finish in 27 and not buckle?
cuz I wasn't good enough at that time to do so...
but 
I WANTED TO FINISH
so 
I FINISHED
regardless of the gear I could have grabbed...

Trail shoes are fricken expensive so if you are sponsored and get free shoes...cool
but if you weren't sponsored would you still finish races?  If you DNF is it because you did not bring your super special sneaks or your special balm for your bum bum or your special drink you bought at GNC?
NO
you don't finish races
because of
YOU
not your gear
not other people
not even because your  sick
I have finished races sick
you finish stuff..
when you want it bad enough...

sooo 
many will say
well she is just a grouchy old slow runner who is
jealous of those that are sponsored
nope
not true
not jealous
I just think
some of it is
well
stupid
it is about marketing
and not about being a true athlete or being a role model
is it about selling yourself...
if you can sell yourself
you get sponsored
end of story
can't sell yourself
or don't want to
you probably won't....

I know an athlete 
yep she is a great athlete 
but she is kind of whiney and kind of mean to other women and kind of uses her beauty to get stuff and will say she is hurt before races just in case she gets beat by someone she will have an excuse why she didn't win

I have witnessed many of these things first hand so I speak only about what I have seen myself..
this is not not gossip
this is truth

She also cheated
as did many others
at a race I did
I was one of the few who did not cheat...
I was in last place cuz of it : )
I ended up quitting the race and DNFing and she finished...
why?
well
she wanted it more then me..
but..
for the first 24 hours I was tortured and had to work harder than anyone else..
I never complained I shut my mouth and did what I was told..I watched her complain about
well 
nothing worth complaining about
I saw her cheat
I was in last place
I did not cheat
and when the entire group was given a choice of suffering if the cheaters did not come forward..
she was next to me
and I said
"If you cheated and I end up in the lake you will totally regret it you ____"
: )
you see
I don't like water

She cried and I felt nothing
no empathy at all...
you don't cheat 
end of story

I ended up quitting
because

Was
Tired...
I did not want it bad enough...

She paid her penalty for cheating and finished...
good on her
not taking any of that away from her
but
when it comes to being a face of a sport or a role model to people..
nope..
she does not deserve that
many will disagree with me
and many will know whom I am speaking about
and many will judge me for putting this out there
and well
I don't care
because
I am speaking the truth
the truth
I am saying what many people already know
sure
she would probably beat my tush in a spartan beast...
and yet
I would do ok...
the difference?
I would stop and help a person who was hurt
I would not complain or cry in anger cause things aren't fair
I would not put winning above my honor
my integrity
and most importantly
grace...

I am too old and been through too much to care about speaking my mind
so elephant
I see you
stop pooping on the patio...
people will say you are jealous cuz she is so pretty and young and so good at racing
yep
all of those are true
she is not just pretty
she is beautiful
and she is tough
and a good athlete
but
in my world I would sponsor
other amazing female athletes who
are women that..
If I had to have my children look up to someone..
it would be one of them...

just my opinion..
it's my blog
so I get to put it out there..
feel free to bad mouth me in your blog..
: )
I can take it...
I already know I am old
smelly
wrinkly
slow
and a bit of a mess 
: )
yep
I am not perfect...
but
I am
HONEST...
I can look in the mirror and say that
of course
my hair will be greasy
and my wrinkles will show
but such is life....

Promises
these are things I keep
when all is said and done and I leave this earth 
all I leave behind is what people remember about me..
all I want people to say..
is
she had integrity

If you make a promise
you keep it..
end
of 
story
there is NEVER an excuse to go back on a promise
if you do
you are
a
coward
a liar
and 
pretty much a pathetic human being...
just saying..

Once I make someone my friend
they will always be in my heart
the only people I have kicked out
cheated or lied
I can't stand either...
both are deal breakers...
they can be hot messes
they can be goofballs
they can be someone who is all over the place
they can be someone who takes more than they can give...
no worries
I have a place for you...
I will not judge
I know what it is like to be judged because you are different..
but liars
cheats
nope
never an excuse for either

just my rumblings ramblings, bumblings and bamblings














Tuesday, March 4, 2014

PEAK 100 Snowshoe Race aka big puff saves the day

This past weekend was the 100 mile snowshoe race in Pittsfield VT on the Green Mountain Trail System lovingly shepherded by my friend Matt Batz and home to some of my favorites races put on by PEAK "people inspiring people" Andy Wineberg's gift to those of us who like a little crazy thrown into our soup.  

This is my 4th time doing this race and every year I DNF..this year was no different in that I did not finish the 100, then again no one did, but I did come in first among my fellow dnfers
 : )  11 out of 15 laps completed each lap 6.5 miles so 71.5 miles on snowshoes in 28 hours taint so bad.  The race went from 8 am Friday until 5 pm Saturday, but I stopped at 11 loops at noon Saturday to just hang with people and eat really yummy soup at the finish..  I knew I would not be able to get the 4 laps done in the time left and I still felt good so I made the choice not to knock myself out for a 13 lap dnf : )  Truth is so many awesome people had traveled to the race (many fellows death racers) that I wanted to just go hang out at The Clear and eat lots of chicken wings : )

I never have an issue DNFing at a PEAK race because they are so hard...the odds of finishing are often slim to nil.  Last year I tied for the DNF first at the snowshoe with 12 laps...I felt this year was a far more difficult course, and the overnight temperature pummeled to minus 7 causing every racer but myself to hide away in the unheated pony barn.  I don't have an issue with cold...I have an issue with cold and WET...I can suffer through cold temperatures as long as I am moving and dry...I don't like getting sopping wet and then having to sit around suffering...my body just can't handle that....
At the start with Don, Doc and Robin (I think that was Robin)

I decided after my first loop that for this race I was in a very good place...  I started off second to last as I always start off races in the back.  I NEVER "go out strong" as they say...I am like a little mole popping its head out from the ground and tentatively sniffing around to make sure an owl does not bite it off...

My mantra is and always will be:
slow and steady wins the race...
well 

maybe not wins the race, 
but slow and steady helps you to finish the race

In the case of PEAK races I do believe it is the person who runs a solid pace throughout that does well in relation to a person who goes out on fire...they usually peter out pretty quickly and then get discouraged when their lap times get slower and slower.  My first lap is always my slowest and then I get the mental boost of negative splits compared to my first and second loops.   I find that passing other runners on the second and or third loops makes you feel really strong..it is not a competitive thing it is just it FEELS good to FEEL strong enough to pass someone.  So all of the guys who went out faster than me I ended up passing or they quit because they burned themselves out quickly.  It is hard for many competitive people to start out so slow...to be the person "turtling" up that first hill just after the RD yells go...
Obviously early on in the race note big smile

Me....
I could give a flying spider monkey
I run my own race in 90% of races..the other 10% I let people get into my head....but that is for another blog







The temperature was on the cold side for Friday but not unbearable.  I wore a Smartwool long sleeve as a base layer and then a second layer topped by a light weight down jacket.  I wore gloves and a neck thingy which ended up being a hat as my bangs kept on getting into my eyes and I couldn't see where I was going...for my bottom silk undies and then a pair of warm tights.  last year I had destroyed myself on the first lap wearing Catalyst snowshoes instead of my Dions, and wearing low back trail runners instead of high backed lightweight boots...I had a blister that was horrific on the back on my right heel that made the entire race excruciatingly painful.  This year we went to REI Thursday night and Doc bought me a pair of Asolo(sp?) hiking boots and these ended up being my saving grace...so lightweight and comfy I had zero blisters and absolutely no foot pain throughput the race.

I will bring these to Peak 500 for the rainy muddy early days and for overnights as they are really easy to run in but give me the support I need.  

One issue I did have  was with my bladder hose freezing up on the first loop.  I could not get any water for the first 6.5 miles.  When I got back to the gear bin Doc was doing timing so I just threw off my bladder and grabbed a free Zico chocolate coconut water off the aid table and a bar and put the coconut water down my shirt and the bar in a pocket and I was off.  The key to this race is to take as little time as possible in transitions..you need to get in and out as every second counts.  To finish this race you must do each loop in 2:18 and that includes water, food, bathroom and clothes change breaks...6.5 miles with that elevation...well the 34 hour cut off is pretty difficult to achieve for 15 laps...
I spent less then 3 minutes at my bin between loops for the first 8 loops.  I came in after the second loop and got a Gatorade bottle half filled with water half with orange Gatorade and another bar..shoved the Gatorade down the front of my shirt...it was heavy so I tucked my base layer into my pants and the bottle just kinda stayed stuck there...when I needed a drink I had to reach down the front of my shirt and grab out the bottle..not ideal in the least, but I only brought a pack and no handheld water bottles so I had no other choice.  

By the 5th lap I had passed everyone
except for Courtenay and Eric who were both ahead of me.  I felt strong and happy and was glad for the flu the week before as it made me rest up. I went into the race doing nothing for like 10 days.  After the 5th or 6th loop Doc had bought me a hamburger from the General Store so I changed out my Gatorade bottle for another one and grabbed the burger and was right back out.  I could only eat half of the burger while I climbed that first steep section to the Mtn Bike cabin as the Gatorade was effecting my tummy ....I was starting to fell nauseous.  With about 2 miles left of that loop I was very sick to my stomach and was happy to suddenly need to stop and throw up all the Gatorade and burger.  When i finished this loop I said "ugh no more Gatorade just water please!!!!.  

The overnight started and the temperatures fell as I turned on my headlamp. I would see lights in the distance but they turned out to be car headlights or house lights from the valley below...I noted no other people on the course.  I found out later I was alone for the night.  Courtenay and Eric both dropped after their 7th lap and  Courtenay was really cold and wet and in trouble.  Doc helped get him out of wet clothes and into his sleeping bag in the pony barn where all the runners bedded down for the overnight or those that had dropped were warming up.  When I came in from my 7th lap Doc said how proud he was of me and I headed right back out.  

The night was gorgeous and I was super happy.  The sky was so clear and the stars looked close enough to touch.  I spent a majority of the overnight just breathing in the cold air and trying to relax my mind and just pick up a rhythm to my running.  Everything for this race came together for me, and I wondered if I had finally moved completely beyond all the pain of the past 4 years.  Clarity has come to me in Bikram, but it had never seemed so close at hand when running....this was the first time in a long while where I felt...

This is where I belong

I came in for the 8th loop and still felt great I was even a bit warm in big puff.  I changed into Doc's wool gloves and headed right back out.  I normally don't drink a lot of water and this race wasn't very different.  I would drink about 1/2 to 3/4 of a Gatorade bottle for every loop.  I ate pretzels and sucked some ginger and hard candy but I did not feel hungry during the overnight.  When I came off the mtn and saw the truck ahead it was so inviting.  Eric was with Doc in the truck gabbing and Finn was snuggling in the back.  Even though it looked warm and toasty I had no desire to stop.  I quickly got my stuff together and headed back out for my tenth loop.  The picture below is me at the finish of that loop.  

Big puff was my savior on the overnight



I had severe pain in my lower back earlier in the race during the second lap I had started hemorrhaging and I was not supposed to get my period so it was a bit shocking to be peeing blood.  I had told Doc early on and said I would keep an eye on it and quit if it got too bad.  This was the first time in the race where I felt like "wow I am in serious pain" and it had nothing to do with my feet or legs...my kidneys hurt.  I stopped and Doc got me in the truck to warm up and put heating pads on my back.  This was around 8 am I had just missed the start of the other race.  I relaxed for about 60 minutes in the truck before I headed back out for my next loop.  Doc gave me two Aleve which in hindsight I should have started taking earlier as a "just in case" kind of thing...2 miles into this lap I felt great.  

When I finished my 11th lap it was close to noon.  There were so many people at the start/finish and hot soup and rolls.  Doc and Eric where there hanging out so I grabbed a cup and started to eat...I had 5 more hours to complete 26 miles...not possible, but I could get at least 2 more laps in.  Robin and Jack were up and heading back out for more loops..Dan and Stephanie had decided to stop she had a long drive and Dan was fine with what he had accomplished and was just enjoying himself at the finish.  Andy, and Peter asked if I was going to go back out and I said probably not I felt good and I was happy..Andy said take a medal, but I never did....I don't do races for the medal..I do them for experiences exactly like I was having...playing on a mtn all night long with people I love and admire, good hot soup and rolls, laughter, and the knowledge that in a few hours I would be sitting at The Clear ordering a glass of pinto and wings with so many amazing people!!!!

Highlights of this race was meeting Don's Lisa in person, meeting Jane's daughter, seeing Matt Batz whom I adore, spending time with Doc, going to The Clear with everyone, watching Doc and Eric Geek out and gaining a large adopted son in Eric...seeing Lisa L, Laura S, Dana W and Jane BC some of the toughest coolest women I know...meeting Chris's and Kevin's wives who were funny and sweet and down right as awesome as their hubbies...spending time at the General Store with Don and Doc talking about love and life..staying at Swiss Farm and seeing Roger and his wife...seeing Jack C, Robin C his gorgeous wife Melissa and Dan G(one of my fave people on the planet) on the trails...meeting Jack's adorable GF who was running the marathon..talking poop with Eric while the three of us bunked down at Swiss Farm..falling asleep at the restaurant and Kevin Lowe making me into a giant puppet..Kevin's "kitty sweaters" Owl Bars from the store, Seeing so many familiar wonderful local faces including Marian Dane Abrams who spent Saturday taking pictures of the race (these are her pictures I stole)...

Love
Pittsfield
it is like a second home
and it always feels good to come home....