Category Archives: Running/races

Would you go in circles for 55 hours? I did!

Day 1 at Snowdrop ultra 55 hour race started off and stayed cold with bouts of rain all day and night . Round and round we ran and walked at every pace, through the increasingly slippery mud along the 0.69 mile loop around the lake and across a small bridge. Half the trail is dirt and half is concrete. I was stopping to eat a little snack regularly and drinking frequently as I passed the aid station every loop, but I still managed to get behind on my sodium intake and had bouts of nausea. I reached 45 miles by the time the evening meal was served so I stopped to eat . Then I got back at it for another 19 or so miles until I started getting very sleepy . I took a few hours off to sleep in my tent that I shared with two other runners. Around 4:30 I debated with myself over whether I should just quit and forego the buckle because my legs hurt so much. I couldn’t quit knowing that others suffered through much more , so clumsily with great slowness I changed my clothes. Then I groggily stumbled out into the misting darkness with the other determined souls , hoping to find coffee waiting. After a couple hours I stopped and ate bacon , eggs and hash browns for breakfast. Volunteers kept us fed and provided encouragement and medical attention for blisters and tight muscles round the clock. The food is a highlight of the event! Restaurant sponsors provide catered meals and there’s also a tent with hot and cold snacks always available, as well as the aid station along the course with typical offerings like pretzels and pickle juice, candy, chips, and every runner fuel you could want .

Starting line

Aid station

Last lap!

The warming tent has heat and hot food and drinks .

I loved seeing the water birds every lap.

My award buckle is a beauty and heavy !

The super cool bag we received full of race essentials.

Day 2 it was also cold and rained off and on. I developed very painful tendinitis in the side of my leg known is IT band syndrome and I could no longer perform a running motion, so from about mile 64 I was reduced to walking. It got so painful that I could barely walk up and down the very slight inclines. So I had to stop to stretch every loop after awhile . As I was stretching one time, Doc Lovy came along walking his loop and offered his assistance. Doc is a Vietnam vet who serves the race every year as chief of the medical staff. He also puts in at least a 50k . He did some things to my leg and told me to go straight to the medical tent to get more help, which I did. When I left the tent I was amazed that I could move much better! For a few minutes I actually ran again but it started to tighten up so I decided to just walk fast. I finally got 100 miles , 145 loops or laps, at 37.5 hours . This was over 6 hours slower than last year due to the knee pain but I was just happy to get there. I stopped to celebrate a bit with friends and drank a small Michelob ultra and a coffee and ate some food . Then I went back out for a few laps until I got sleepy.

Vietnam vet Doc Lovy

Team RWB dancing and cheering

The race director Patty Godfrey and founder Kevin Kline

That night was New Year’s Eve. I was freezing cold and had to make a decision to quit the race or continue . I decided to stay but I went to sleep in my tent . First I changed into warm dry clothes , as I had done several times already, because of the rain. Then I got in my sleeping bag wearing my clothes , beanie, and gloves with two Hot Hands hand warmer gel packs and tried to warm up . Laying there shivering suddenly I heard what sounded like a war starting up and it got louder and louder. Fireworks were going off all around the town for the next couple of hours . I’ve never heard anything like it! Between that and the generator next to my tent, it was very noisy . But eventually I stopped shivering and tuned out the noise and slept off and on until almost sunrise . I really wish I’d gotten up sooner but it’s not a huge deal . I would’ve maybe been able to add another 10 miles if I had started at 4:30am.

Day 3 , New Year’s Day brought us beautiful weather and was the most fun day. The beautiful but chilly sunrise brought a fresh energy and relief that it was no longer raining. Lots of “Happy New Year!”s were exchanged. My husband informed me of my standing in the race which he was following live online from home and said that I was moving up because many people had stopped at 100 miles which motivated me to push a little faster to get as many miles as possible by 2pm. Lots of people were ringing the 100 mile lap bell and there was an air of excitement all day with lots of cheering and high fives and dancing spectators! The eating and drinking continued with Papa John’s pizza served for lunch. I skipped the gluten as usual and had eggs and bacon again for breakfast and lunch.

That day many of the runners had stopped and either gone home or were spectating so there was a lot less traffic on the course. Grimacing, slow moving runners and walkers were being lapped by the faster relay teams. Today was the day for lots of chatting with fellow pilgrims . Also I continued my prayers, listening to music , and interacting with the crowd. The time passed quickly! My strategy wasn’t very carefully planned but I was doing a few laps then taking a water break, with the goal of a minimum of two miles per hour but in reality I was closer to 2.5 mph. I had no firm goal past 100 at first but then I tentatively chose 115 miles. I calculated , with much effort , that my pace was good enough so I decided to try to hit 120,then I figured I should continue until the clock ran out so I did and ended up with 121.5 miles, 8th female of 73 females, 21st overall of 146. If I hadn’t decided to do one more lap , I would have been 9th female.

There were 7 minutes left on the clock , not enough for a lap so I stayed to watch the exciting finishes of the last runners. Unlike many trail ultras, this race had a lot of cheering, an excellent announcer, and many people watching their friends and family victoriously cross the finish line. After the awards ceremony, I helped break down our camp then loaded my van and drove home. I sat in the parking lot for a few minutes just processing the whole experience, feeling very grateful and happy. Leaving an event like this is always kinda sad , after being so focused and so supported and encouraged, now it’s time to face the real world again where my husband and kids need me to do things.

Well I got home and barely had one day of rest during which I did laundry and cooked and took care of my daughter who was now sick . I didn’t get much sleep Wednesday night , got up early and realized she was so sick that I had to get her to the hospital . I was still too sleep deprived to drive her alone so I called for an ambulance . Then I drove myself to the hospital . As of this writing we are still in the hospital and will probably be here a week or more as she has RSV and pneumonia and we are in the pediatric intensive care unit . She’s getting great care and I’m finally getting to rest . My legs are still swollen from the race. I just watched the movie Bird Box , which I’d heard mentioned but knew nothing about the plot or even the topic. I liked it. But why does Sandra Bullock never smile in her movies?!

If you are interested in trying a fixed time race, I highly encourage it. They are growing in popularity. This race sold out in less than an hour this year ,so be ready! I believe registration is in March.

If you can , please donate to the cause. Race donations are still being accepted. https://thedriven.net/nfundraising.donate_individual_new/indviId/9763/eid/9833023589

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If we, I mean, We will make it through December! Race week !

I started this post on Wednesday night. It was going to be about how crazy the past two weeks have been. Then I woke up Thursday morning feeling renewed. Hmm, I thought. Looked at the calendar, yep, it’s a New Moon! Still a crazy couple of days, but I feel a new sense of hope that it will get better. I don’t think everyone is as aware of moon cycles and spiritual things as some of us, so they just think it’s all random or caused by this or that and they try to fix those things and when they feel better they think they fixed it , not realizing the changing moon cycles were at least partly responsible.

Wait!, you say. I thought this was a Christian blog! It is ! But God made the moon and the moon has strong effects on the earth, so why would it not affect the people God also made? Do I worship the moon or think that I should be very concerned about it, no. I trust that God is more powerful than anything He created. I pray constantly for His help and I feel his presence in my life , especially during crises. God is in charge!  He can even blacken the sun when he wants to make a big point.

The road has been rocky for the past two weeks. Everyone has been passing around a virus which meant that eventually my daughter would catch it and she did. I had to put her on oxygen to help her breathe on Wednesday, but Thursday she was looking much better! All this sickness meant we got very little school work accomplished, but we did work on math and reading. Today my husband feels terrible so I will be taking care of him as well as her.

The other things that have happened have been mentioned I think, unexpected plumbing expenses, car troubles and expenses, no money for Christmas, stress and worry over a depressed husband and son, my own sickness, not being able to get out and run this week, and trying to be ready for a race this weekend with all this on my mind. We also missed Bible Study class yesterday due to the virus. But God is good and I just keep praying and asking my friends to pray. Oh, yeah, after a few nice sunny days, it’s now raining and will be raining during the race unless God answers my prayers to change the weather. I have a pretty good record with God giving me good weather for races, so I try not to complain. My best friend lives in upstate New York and it seems to rain every time she races! I don’t want to live there.

The race will be exciting! Rain or not. There will be some famous elite runners there as well as many sub-elites. Ian Sharman, (UPDATE :Sharman won the 50 miler in around 6 hours in mud!) who until recently held the 100 mile Trail record, Gordon Ainsleigh ( I didn’t see him), the father of the famous Western States 100, some of the Tarahumara runners from Mexico might be there , and many other fast runners  are coming in from around the country to this lil’ ol’ state park in Texas that is mostly known for its’ large alligator population, many small lakes and bird-watching. Many of my friends will be there, some attempting their first 100 mile distance, others running other distances or volunteering or pacing.  This event was recently chosen for the 100 mile Trail Championship race for 2019 which is a big deal for the race director, who is a friend of mine, so congratulations to Robert Goyen of Trail Racing Over Texas (TROT)! https://trailrunner.com/trail-news/usatf-mountain-ultra-trail-council-announces-2019-national-championship-races/ 

 

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Brazos Bend State Park 

I did my packet pickup, errands and weekly grocery shopping yesterday, so today I will be trying to ‘rest’ for my race while I take care of everyone and do my usual cooking and chores. I know most runners do not get to rest much before a marathon and I usually don’t,  so this is not a big deal. But I’m glad I don’t have to go into Houston like I did yesterday! The traffic!  I am just not fond of the city anymore after 15 years of country living. But I have to be thankful that  I did get in and out fairly quickly and with no trouble, not counting the time I had to circle around  for awhile to get in the lane I needed to get on the freeway. I felt a slight urge to hit some of the millions of stores in Houston, but instead, I headed west on I-10, away, away! I stopped at Buc-ees for a soda and ended up doing some Christmas shopping there.

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Every good road trip includes a stop at Buc-ees

 

What is Buc-ees? It’s a gigantic gas station with over 60 gas pumps at this location and a huge carwash, a restaurant (BBQ and sandwiches) and bakery, clean restrooms, a huge convenience store with every imaginable snack and drink item and coffee, AND a huge gift shop! In other words, a Texas-sized gas station. Take a look here . It’s quite impressive! However when I got home I looked at my receipt and found that I had been charged for a sandwich I didn’t buy, which made me a bit upset since that store is not known for it’s bargain prices. I sent them an email which is the only way to contact them. I’ll update if I get a refund. ( Update: I got a refund !)

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Mmm, Beaver Nuggets! (Sugar coated corn snacks)

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Some fun gifts I bought for my sister in Utah who is always positive 🙂

Well, my time is up. Sick husband is trying to cook himself food and it’s not going well. Have a good day my friends!

Deuteronomy 4:15 “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16 beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. 19 And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.20 But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day. 

Yay for running in colder weather !

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A frosty morning
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Beautiful sunrise

 

I say ‘colder’ weather, because it is relative and people always think their weather is the worst, hottest, or coldest. I know for many our temps were not very cold, but we do have some pretty hot and miserably humid days that last for many months so , as I said, it’s all relative.

Here in Southeast Texas, most of us are not acclimated to temperatures below 50 degrees , especially with wind or rain. Me personally, I love cold weather and you could say I live for these days because they are so rare. I feel like a kid with a new toy when I get to wear long sleeves, sweaters and even a coat and hat sometimes!  So when I see anything below 60 degrees in the forecast I get super excited and start planning my runs. Last week  we had some very cold (for us) days that started in the 20s and 30s and there was even snow in the northern parts of Texas. We get excited , y’all! Of course, my poor husband was not too excited, nor my oldest son, because they work in unheated, open mechanic shops where they almost freeze their poor hands and noses off . Sorry, guys. I am going to enjoy this!

So one day I bundled up in my tights, long sleeves, gloves and beanie  and ran 6 miles on the trails and felt like I had really done something, lol! Then another day it wasn’t quite as cold , but I still felt the wind when headed north, and I was able to get in a good 16 mile run on the roads. To be honest it warmed up to almost 60 by the end of that run but some of my friends still thought it was cold. 🙂 I wasn’t able to get out and run Thursday or Friday because I do have other responsibilities even though it may not seem like it. So by Saturday morning I was well-rested and super ready to run. I went to bed early Friday, barely slept and got up at 4AM to go meet a friend at a park where we ran 20 peaceful and lovely cool miles together.

Unfortunately, nasty cold rain returned that evening and all day Sunday. Today I ran on the treadmill to avoid the rain, which changes everything for me. I do not like cold and wet!  I am already counting the days until I get to run another long run, most likely on trails on Friday, which in the U.S, we call Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving which is this Thursday. And , good news, it’s going to be nice and cool!

 

How about you? What is your favorite running weather ? Do you hibernate in the cold months or enjoy winter activities?

Don’t underestimate Children

I went for a run today at the state park closest to me. I kinda wanted to go to a different one but I got a late start and I didn’t really feel like using that much gas, so I settled for one near me that is not my favorite because 1)the trails are flat, 2) the trails are short, and 3) this park  is not usually much of an adventure. But I ended up being blessed! Below are some photos I’ve taken on past visits.

It was cold and raining when I woke up but as I drove to the park, the outside temperature was literally rising before my eyes on the car thermometer. It was 50 degrees when I got to the park and I was very surprised to see a bunch of cars in the parking lot at the park entrance. I have a park pass which means I get in free, but I had to wait in line with the campers paying their fees. This park doesn’t have a lot to offer , in my opinion, as far as state parks go, other than nature walks in the forest, deer and other wildlife and pure camping experiences, no lake, no fishing, no climbing, no mountain views, no boating or swimming. What it does have is trails that tend to be flooded by the adjacent Brazos River or extremely humid conditions and mosquitoes. The whole park was under water twice in the past three years and I really thought they might just give up and close it but they didn’t. But city folks and RVers like it.

So anyway, I don’t come here that often but today I just wanted to get out of the house, and not into the gym, and go for a run in the forest. I had no real plan but as I was driving I remembered that I told myself that I wanted to run for two hours on one of my weekend days, so that became my vague plan. I wasn’t sure what to wear, remember it was 85 degrees here this week, so I was wearing a short sleeve tech shirt under a long sleeve tech shirt , Nike running tights, and gloves and a hat. I decided to shed the hat before I even started and the gloves went into my vest pocket after a few miles.

The first few minutes felt stiff and awkward, but I know the first mile is a liar so I tried not to let it freak me out. I forgot to mention that my back has been hurting this week and the last time I ran was Tuesday which means that I missed three days! By a half mile in I was feeling warmed up and then I started to see PEOPLE on my trail. A lot them. I say ‘my trail’ because I live so close ( around 20 miles away) and have run here many times, usually weekday mornings . There is hardly ever anyone here,  but since I got started so late, around 11:00 AM, and it’s Saturday,  the campers and hikers were stirring like ants. These people were walking on my trail, in fact they were standing on my trail talking, a group of hikers with a guide. The guide is a friend of mine and he told them to “Say Hi to Paula”,  which I found very amusing! I politely said a few words to them and kept going knowing that I would see them again very soon because this trail was a dead end at the river overlook.

My run started feeling pretty good. I don’t usually listen to music on the trail and today was no different. I do a lot of thinking and praying and trying to stay focused on not tripping. I kept going, said hi to the hiking group again, and also passed a group of what looked like people from another country,  maybe Chile or Brazil, some South American country , Spanish speakers,  and they all had nice puffy jackets and their kids were walking pretty dogs on leashes. It was a big group and I had to get past them several times on my run. They were friendly and I tried to get past without bothering them. I heard one say something about ‘cansado’ which means tired. Not sure if they meant me or them.

The trail is a loop around the park and there are also some other trails called the lower trails that are currently closed due to flooded areas.  It has been raining and raining and raining here in Texas. I went down a  trail that leads to one of the closed trails and I just had to go past that little “Trail Closed” chain to see how the trail looked on the other side. Sorry, don’t yell at me, I know this park well. Happily, the trail was in really good shape except for that one little problem of the creek being over the trail in one spot. Running along through the tall trees on the quiet, leaf covered trail, I came upon some nice trail work that had been done on that section, two new boardwalks. I haven’t been in this part of the park in a few years due to the aforementioned flooding and it made me really happy to see some of my favorite giant trees.  This park and I have a lot of history and it means a lot to me to see that the state has not given up on it. That history includes many runs with friends that I no longer run with, my first night run, volunteering for races, and watching people literally wade through waist and neck deep water in one famous race . I’ve learned to love and support all Texas State Parks because of this one.

So back to the run, I decided to keep run the loop and that out and back section, racking up as many miles as possible and then turn around and retrace my path back to my vehicle and then repeat, doing the math all along and figuring out how to get 10 miles in this tiny park. As I was running back I met up with two little boys, maybe 8-9 years old, walking on the trail alone. There were quite a few groups with kids out there that day, but these two were alone. Both of them looked right at me and started to talk so I stopped running and listened. They had seen me go by earlier and were interested in the fact that I was still running. I told them I was coming back around. Then they proceeded to give me instructions on where to go on the trail so I could be sure not to miss seeing the river. Thanking them with a smile I kept going, with new joy in my heart. What an uplifting moment! These two little boys gave me a real gift. It made me so happy that they were enjoying their hike so much and wanted to share it with a random stranger! This is what life is all about . God bless those boys and their parents! I got my 10 miles in, but these kids were the high point. Happy Running!

More than meets the Eye

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They postponed the start by a few minutes.
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Runners huddling under the few shelters.
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I was so cold! But happy. 🙂

Looking at these photos what comes to your mind? Do you wonder why people run? Or why they’d pay to show up and run in the rain like this? Or why would they try to stay dry under a tent when they’re about to run in the rain? Or did you notice the couple with the stroller under the umbrella? The lady had a small baby. Or maybe you saw the portable toilets and thought , yuck, I’d never use those.

Or maybe you’re a runner and thought, let’s go, it’s just a little rain! Or you were checking out the starting line and other features of the race course.

I woke up at 4 am, checked my weather app because I knew the forecast, and saw a huge storm headed to where the race was being held, about 40 miles to the east of my house. Got ready to go and was about to get in the van when the sky opened up. Had a few second thoughts , but then I thought , well maybe it will move north. I took off down the highway and eventually drove out of the heavy rain into sprinkles. When I go to the race venue it started raining moderately. Oh well, I thought, I’m here, I’ll put on my rain jacket. I had to walk about a 1/4 mile to the packet pickup area from the parking lot, or at least it seemed like it. In line with the other die hard runners, I started to feel good about showing up. One of them, an older man and amazing runner that I know from trail running, had driven 1.5 hours in heavy rain, hydroplaning on the highway. I thought , if he can do this, I can! Then another lady mentioned that she might just go home. I was thinking, then why are you here? She didn’t leave , though.

We had to wait awhile after picking up our bibs and during that time it rained  off and on. It started raining a bit harder right before 7AM so they held off a few minutes. Finally, we saluted the flag during the national anthem in the rain and headed to the starting line. I decided to keep my rain jacket on even though I knew eventually I’d get hot and have to take it off, which is what happened later.

I had registered for this race during a “super low price ,early bird” registration period , read ‘impulse buy’. I could have skipped it since I had run 22 miles the day before, but I wanted to challenge myself and see what I could do.

The title of this blog is really about what goes on in the mind of a runner, and probable other athletes and people who like to push themselves in whatever pursuit they enjoy.

In the car on the way there: Dear God , please get me there safely. Please help me run my race. Please watch over and bless my family while I’m gone from home. (Then I listened to Christian music and  the end of an inspiring  message from Ravi Zacharias on the radio.) Oh crap, watch the road. Do not look at your GPS while driving! Why are these people in such a hurry at this hour on a Saturday?

Arriving at the venue:  Oh no! I thought this was where I am supposed to go but evidently not. I will follow those cars. I hope I’m not late! Whew, I guess this is the place. Well, here comes the rain. Hmm, I don’t want to walk back to the car with my t-shirt, so I will wear my pack under my jacket and bring everything I need . I can just stuff my shirt in my pack, or maybe the pocket of this jacket. I bet the shirt will be too small for me. I guess these people sitting in their cars went to packet pickup yesterday. The sky is lightening up, the sun is coming up soon. I should hide my wallet. I wonder if anyone breaks into cars in the rain. Okay, off I go into the rain with the other nuts.

Waiting to start, while standing under a tent:  I hope I can run. I hope my legs and body can do this. Oh, that’s nice that this family is running together and look how enthusiastic and positive their kids are! What is wrong with my kids? I wish my family would run races . I’m cold. Uh-oh , it’s raining harder. Will there be lightning? Will the race go on? Oh no, people are getting bit by ants. I hate ants.  ( I have a short chat with the man next to me about ants. We compare scars that we both have on our wrists from ant bites. We talk about the craziness of what we are about to do and how we like it.) Oh, yay, they are starting pre-race stuff. Almost time! Remember to take it nice and easy, don’t go out too fast.

First loop of two 5 mile loops: Well this isn’t so bad. I feel pretty good! I’m not hot and I have energy and I’m passing a lot of people since I stared off in the middle-back section. Oh, she went out too fast, now she’s slowing down. Why is that man breathing so hard? He’s running too fast for his fitness level. I hope he’s okay.  Wow, already 3 miles done! That went by fast. Look at all these awesome cops and volunteers standing in the rain for us! I love these volunteers! Wow, they  have a lot of orange cones. Careful, don’t slip on the painted lines. Man, I feel so good. I can’t believe it. I wonder if that will change soon. I’ll just go with it and if I have to walk some I will. Oh wow, almost to the turnaround already! 5 miles done. Halfway. Oh , what?! There is the winner coming in! He has run 10 miles already! How do they do it???

Miles 6-10:  Hmm, that lady keeps running by me and then walking. I am going to just try to maintain this steady pace as long as I can. Well, I am passing her again. We are yo-yoing. She can’t hold that pace. Why doesn’t she slow down? Maybe she likes the run/walk. She can run well, but she can’t hold it, she’s out of breath. I am slower , but we are averaging the same pace. This is interesting. I will just keep going. Where is she? Oh, I caught her again. I think I might be able to run the whole thing without walking. That is my new goal. So much for my plan to run/walk. Hmm, should I eat a Gu (gel)? I can’t believe I’ve run this far on just water! In the summer I need so much fuel! Mile 7 already! This is flying by! I think I will go ahead and eat a GU just to help me stay strong . But I’m not going to walk. How can I do this with this jacket in my hand? I’ll put it under my arm. Okay, here we go! Last mile, push it. I wish I could run faster . I wonder what my pace has been? (I forgot my watch and was using an app and had not looked at it during the race.) Oh, here I am catching up to that yo-yo lady, I will encourage her. “Almost there! You have a great pace! Go for it!” ( We finished within seconds of each other, but I didn’t get a chance to talk to her after the race, unfortunately.) Push it! Finish line ahead, go hard! I did it! I think I PRd this course! (no, but almost) Wow, that was awesome! Crap, my app won’t stop! My phone is too wet and my hands are cold and wet. (somehow I stopped it but it had a little extra time on it.) Oh, I like this medal.

After the race:  I’m cold. I’m hungry. I want dry clothes. I want food. But I have to wait around so I can get the results. Did I place in my age group? Breakfast tacos ! I will eat the insides, no tortillas for me. (I’m gluten free.) Oh, soda, yes, I want one.  What is going on ? Oh they are already giving out awards and the cash drawing. I hope I win $100! ( This race gives away 8 $100 bills and 5 $50 bills. ) Well that was pretty tasty, I love potatoes and eggs. I need to sit down and I need a paper towel. My hands are so cold! Oops that area is only for VIPs. Oh, there are some chairs. They are wet,  but so am I. Oh it feels good to sit down! I can barely hear the announcer. I better pay close attention. He is calling the winning numbers with little warning.  Oh bummer, one number off. Hey I see a lady I know, I want to say hi. She won Masters Female ! And her mom won her age group. Hey there is another trail friend. Good to see  and chat with her . I’m so cold. Should I just leave? I will put on my wet jacket. That is actually warming me up. Well, I didn’t win any money or place in my age group. I can finally go get warm!

On the way home: Thank you, God! Thank for you making this a good day. Please get me home safely. Amen. Why are these people driving 80 in a construction zone? Idiots. Okay, out of that death zone. No, I’m not moving over. I’m doing 80. Sorry. Pass me if you want to. Go back to Austin.

So now you know a little bit of what is going on in my seemingly quiet little head.

Got past a mental block!

Super happy to report that I had a great run today of TWENTY-TWO MILES! After many months of being stuck at 15-16 mile long runs, I was able to hang in there and run through the wall. For those who haven’t read my other posts, I’ve run longer than this but I’ve had a bad year and just couldn’t seem to get back on the horse (feet?).  I hooked up with a few friends and we knocked out the miles on this beautiful day and I really enjoyed it. I was worried I was running too slow but my pace was better than I thought! 4:12 for 22 miles, including several stops for bathroom breaks and water. Way better than I expected.

The trail was a paved path through tall trees of all kinds along a creek/bayou. It was a very nice path, a little crowded as the morning got later , but not too bad. . I had to get up at 4AM and drive 80 miles to it, but it was worth it. Running with friends in a new place gave me the boost I needed to get it done. Plus it helped that the only way back to my car was to run back after we hit 11 miles. I’m a little short on time, but I am doing my best to get ready for the Brazos Bend marathon in early December and the Snowdrop Ultra 55 hour run at the end of December. This run really boosted my confidence. Thank you, Lord, for good friends and for this day. Amen.

Why are you doing this ? Crewing Capital to Coast Relay Solo 2018

I’m sitting on a country road in my friend’s Toyota Tundra which currently , and often , smells like stinky running shoes and sweaty clothes. We are around 60 miles into a 223 mile run from Austin to Corpus Christi. No, we aren’t a relay team. My friend is running all of it , just like he ran the entire 203 miles of the Texas Independence Relay.

The first time we did this everything seemed easier . This course is pretty hilly , we started at night in the rain, and there is way more traffic than I expected. We also have no other crew members to help us,  unlike last time when we had quite a nice group of pacers and supporters. But also I’m just really struggling with not wanting to be here. I’ve been in a menopausal funk lately that has zapped me of all motivation. I’m still fulfilling my responsibilities at home . I just am content to do little else. This is not me ! I’m usually always on the go or cooking up plans. But I would never let my friend down and he doesn’t know I’d rather be at home doing nothing .

But this is dragging on so slowly! Thankfully the sun came out and it’s not so gloomy , but I hope it doesn’t warm up too much . We started the race at 10:30 last night . You can see the video on Facebook. I did enjoy the first hour or two of running through my old college town. It’s not the same, of course. Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. New skyscrapers are going up everywhere, along with sky high rents. New toll roads and highways are full of cars. But the downtown night life brought back memories of my freshman year. We used to party on the famous 6th street after walking there from campus, then walk back to our dorm.

Part Two

Okay those first two paragraphs were written yesterday afternoon. Now it’s the next night and I’m at home and the race/run is over. My friend did not finish this time. Things were just not going well and he decided that he didn’t want to run/walk for another 40 hours. The total was going to end up being more like 80 hours instead of the 68 he had planned. The  finish line would have been taken down, no hoopla, and possibly no official recognition of his efforts, but we weren’t sure about that. But we did know we’d be finishing sometime after midnight Saturday night. It was just not his day.

I’m happy to report that I did start having more fun with my fellow crew member after I wrote the first paragraphs. But, boy oh boy, I am so glad to be out of the truck! I am so glad to be at home! I am so glad to be here with my husband, kids and dogs. I am so glad to be able to cook dinner and hang out. Last time we did this I was totally into the race, enjoying the journey through country roads and then all the way from one side of Houston to the other, a long way.  We were having a good time even though it was difficult at times to keep my friend going and the run lasted about 62 hours.  This time we were very  much alone, not much to look at along the way, the road was not very good, and I just felt like we weren’t prepared for it all. But every run/race is a learning experience if you pay attention. This time I learned that it is very important to train for the specific conditions you will be running, that one’s diet matters very much, as in, don’t under eat before and during a race, and that you must have very good reasons to run long distances or it will suck. You can’t run to prove your worth to others or to beat others or to win approval. You must prove it to yourself, beat yourself, gain your own approval. And you must be able to dig deep from your own well of motivation, strength and peace because running for hours and hours alone is not for the weak. My friend is definitely not weak. He ran a 100 miler two weeks ago and got a personal best and won the race! But he was physically tired and not sure of his own reasons for doing this race. In the end, it just wasn’t worth it to him to continue to suffer. His knee, feet and back were hurting the whole time. He pulled the plug at 94 miles, got in the truck and went to sleep. When he woke up I asked him if he wanted to continue and finish at least 100 miles but his heart wasn’t in it. It’s okay. A DNF ( did not finish) is not the end of the world! It doesn’t define your value or status as a runner. I really hope my friend will not beat himself up over this. Running is supposed to be a positive force, not a negative one.

So I’m home. I ran 27 total miles with him and my legs are feeling it, but I am thankful for the experience. We had a good time running until it was no longer fun. I took a break while he kept going into the night. He got discouraged by the hills and got in  the truck to sleep a bit. When he woke up, the sun was up and  we ran some more . We talked and laughed and braved the dogs and traffic . Then he ran alone all through the night down gravel roads  with fences on both sides under the full moon until it just got too hard, something like 32 hours. My brain is too tired to do math. We had adventures! I peed behind two campaign signs next to a school along a road with no trees after holding it for an hour waiting to find a hidden spot. We missed our turn once and had to backtrack half a mile. We saw deer, raccoons, cattle, horses and more dogs. Coyotes howled at the moon that was so bright you could see the road without any lights. We may not have finished the course, but we gave it our all, especially him. It was worth it.