Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My Mom is Nuts

I see so many Mommy blogs. Working Mommy, Stay at Home Mommy, Amazing Pinterest Mommy, and (Yet not as many) What's happening Mommy.

So here's my take on this hot topic.
We Make It Work
Preferably without Prozac, but understandably so.
We Make It Work
Preferably without yelling but, who the hell are you kidding.
We Make It Work
Preferably without gadgets, but go eff yourself.
We Make It Work

I like to think I am an in tune with both the stay at home and working mom. The stay at home Mom, which I became unplanned. And, the working Mom, which my sister is the highest level of;  have conversations that are full of deep moments and adorable toddler shit while she is making her way home in Baltimore traffic.  That's what I  get, and I take what I can get, because I know she works hard and loves her kids, and the minute she walks in the door- that's it.  

So let me start. I'm a stay at home, part time working, mom- with ZERO family in a 2000 mile radius. Both myself and the baby daddy I call husband are transplants to the great White Hope- Utah. And, despite our lack of interest in the local faith, green Jello, and a great interest in Friday night's with wine- it turns out, I really like raising my children in an affordable, pretty, safe place.  
We might be an exception for loneliness in this mecca of children, but give me the pleasure to rant, regardless.

"My mom was crazy"- This is the Intro of the fictitious novel I see being written in the head of my current 7 year old. On a hike recently, i thought to myself, maybe we spend too much time together. Maybe this young, strong (very opinionated)  , smart (too smart for my own good), stubborn(argumentative) baby! (young girl) spends too much time with her crazy ass mom. 

They get all of me, her and her sister. They get too much of me. Maybe if I worked, they wouldn't have the chance to write a novel in 20 years that starts with "I think my mother was a fucking skitzzo.." Because, my house wouldn't be a cluttered sticky mess, my life thoughts wouldn't parallel the chaos of scattered toys, and crap around me, because I could hear nothing for minutes except... nothing.

I'm not whining. I walk my daughter and dog to school over coffee and hot chocolate with the effing rocky mountains for a view. We live in a really safe place, I raise my children, and by 4pm we are planning what game or movie we will engage after a dinner that I have cooked- every night. The thing never stops. Of course they are amazing little scientists discovering every god damn thing, including their own voice and intelligence, but THEY NEVER STOP. And, they argue- LOUDLY about the stupidest shit! Like lalaloopsy dolls, and the occupying fort rights;forts made from my fucking couch cushions! And they yell "It's not fair!!! louder than "The British are coming!!!!"

I've read the blogs... I know, my amazing working mom's don't want to hear about the insane usage a house gets when you have to be there all day with these sweet little dirt bags, but let me tell you, it's enough to bring you to viscous tears. They have no respect or gratitude and why should they? They are children, tiny little people that I'm in charge of shaping, molding, feeding, loving- But, someone, please, help me process that, and just pick up their shit without grumbling like a lunatic on meth and glue?

I took a class (oh Christ,watch out), but, I took a class: "Marriage and the Family Experience". It was 2 years ago.  I decided to finish my Associates degree at the tender age of 33. reported that most marriages end..END!!! because of housework. The unequal distribution of housework between spouses. SPOUSES WITH BEAUTIFUL AMAZING children...:


I digress. But, here I go trying to conclude: I know my sister won't have time to call me when she is home from work, and I understand and respect that.  That's her fleeting time.

In EVERY given day, I remember why I'm happy to do what I do. I never thought I'd be a stay at home mom. I worked 2 jobs for most of my life. I have 2 girls, who are beautiful and healthy. I literally witness every moment of them evolving, and growing, and thinking on different levels. While I clean shit(actual poop) off the toilet seat, washable (not washable) paint off the floor, and peanut butter off of...everything, SPOILER ALERT: I'm not smiling while doing this! But, i get it... why you're also not smiling not doing it, working mothers.

I'm there, and that's gonna pay off in another way...shit, I hope so.

But, i TRULY worry they get too much of me. They get all the mid 30's hormones and breakdowns, and they have to witness every processed decision because this is us, this is their family, this is what we are, and we are really good, but we are really messy, and we are really flawed...

"My mother was crazy..." 
I'm not, for the record. I'm human. 

But, my daughter who sees all of me...that might be how she interprets me one day.  I hope it comes out as; "She was  loving and always here, rather than..She was crazy and I wish she'd leave me alone." 

It's not easy..Not fucking any of it. We just gotta love the good parts.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Listen to this

"Take My Hand, Not My Picture..."

Twirling my own fingers and tightinigh my core
with images of years spent waiting for
you on the floor.

So many breaths taken in your
spectrum, waiting in an alley
my tounge thumping like a drum.
So many days spent in rivers of weeps
so many moments and trouble
with sleep

Throwing pennies over bridges
writing words that did nothing
anxious, nervous, twitching
risky, careless, slushing.

All because of love
or the thought that it might be discovered
a brand new smell
and brand new covers

And years have sped by 
And epidermall skin has died
a thousand times over
like a broken film clicking 
and clicking
and clicking

The tragic comedy
the heroin an average man
casually strolling below the beat of the earth's heart...

So, songs will soar me back
and small hands catapult to the present
summarized in moments
with lyrics misinterpreted. 

And, I wait.

 "I don't want to take what you can give...
I would rather starve than eat your bread...
I would rather run but I can't walk...
Guess I'll lie alone just like before...
I'll take the vermin's path... oh, and I must refuse your test
A-push me and I will resist... this behavior's not unique
I don't want to hear from those who know...
They can buy, but can't put on my clothes...
I don't want to limp for them to walk...
Never would have known of me before...
I don't want to be held in your debt...
I'll pay it off in blood, let I be wed...
I'm already cut up and half dead...
I'll end up alone like I began...
Everything has chains... absolutely nothing's changed
"Take my hand, not my picture," spilled my tincture"

Friday, October 24, 2014

I know you'll be a star in somebody else's sky

I had a weird moment in yoga, woah, woah...hold the phone, this sounds like some Guru bell ringing restorative soul shit..Yeah, kinda.

But, it brought me to a very hysterical state where I talked with my mother on the floor of a rec center. So, might be worth an ear or your heart.

Plough Pose- not camel, which is typically the pose that you open your heart and bend your spine creating a release of emotionally heavy shit.  Camel makes me smile- Maybe because my calss sang me Happy Birthday in Camel pose in July, and then someone farted. No one laughs when someone farts in yoga, and this fact alone makes me giggle- as fake poop and farts were always a source of bursting laughter growing up. My mom used to gag and yell at us disgusting little people laughing at our own stench and rippers.  But, in yoga, there's a pose called wind relesaing, yeah, eveyone is all too mature and centered to laugh..i guess.

Anyway, I'm on the floor after a 5 minute plough pose
I came out and we go into final meditation; usually the part where I sneak out and grab my daughter from the child care. I stayed a few weeks ago, and low and mom said hi Natty.

With her beautiful white straight teeth, she smiled and was wearing purple. Her hair was black with hot rollered curls. She was not sick but she was not alive.
Here's how it went:

Me: Mom, where have you been? I've needed you.

Mom: Natty, I've been with Bri.

And then she held my hand, and I sobbed quietly on my yoga mat, on the wooden floor of the rec center, and tears fell fast in to my ears, and on to the yoga mat.

Brian is my brother.  Brian is 38 and had a liver transplant moments from death 2 years ago.   And, since, Brian has been fighting so hard to rebuild and progress, and he is a gentle soul with a heart bigger than most. And, Liver transplant doesn't end all your physical problems, so there have been adjustments, bumps, pain, irritations...

Of course she has been with Brian.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Redemption Song

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
'Cause none of them can stop the time.

The truth is, I had to run a 50 mile race on Saturday.  The truth is I had to... for me.  There was no doubt that I had to try, so i didn't stress about it, I didn't question the need, I just went out and ran- because that's all it is, right? Yes. 

But I had to do it, there was no other choice- I had to set out to accomplish that distance again, to remind myself of my ability, strength, and patience. To remind myself that it is just running, but the fight to the finish is way more than that for so many like me. And, it was the first race I have not felt like a naive, disorganized, overly packed,  newbie. The wise words of so many ran through my head, and I listened to each. "Be patient" "Find the pace you can do all day long" "be in the moment" "breathe" "embrace the pain" "Run, it's a race!" "don't forget to look around" and "enjoy it".

However, for some reason I couldn't remember what a dozen people have told me about Moose. This was a bit comical as Cheryl (my friend and pacer ANGEL) and I were hiking up switchbacks and spotted a big fella mere feet from us. Cheryl: (yelling) "Aren't we supposed to talk loudly and let them know we are here!?!" Me (whispering) : "Or, are we supposed to sneak by him quietly and quickly?" I doubt the combination is the answer, but he strolled away from us casually, regardless.

I ran the first 21.6 miles alone on the fairytale trails of Park City Mountain Resort. Pristine trails in October bursting colorful Aspen leaves to the ground, welcoming the hard working feet of runners starting at 5am.  When the sun came up, I had just hit the ridge line after a gradual 13 mile climb, and the sun warmed my right ear first as I struggled to see the ground for moments from the first poetic rays of the orb dosing my eyes. I huddled close to the shady side of the trail and came in to the aid station over dressed, but very damn happy.

I could skip the next 6 miles and pretend this entire day was just the perfect combination of bliss, fall colors, and strength- but, it's an ultra, so here's the "ugh..why do i do this miles" I stripped my clothes, I ate some food, and started back on the trail with a heavy load in my back and that feeling that I had just gone 4+ hours, 16 miles, and hadn't even put a dent in this day yet. +***IMPATIENCE*** I had a difficult  time getting my shit together. By shit, I mean food, pace, comfort, running. I was irritated at my playlist which I aptly named "YOU HAVE TO DO THIS" Even with Kelly Clarksons "Stronger" blasting in my ear, whom I was convinced was an ultra runner just days ago as she belted out the lyrics " Didn't think that I'd come back, that I'd come back swinging, you tried to break me, but you see what doesn't kill me..." you get the idea. And yet, I was irritated at my own playlist. And, that's an Ultra, one minute you are thankful for your place in life, the world, the moment, and the next you want to punch the next person in the back who says "nice job!" as they zoom by you warning "on your left!".

I'll cut to the chase. Then, I remembered what Cheryl told me a few years ago; "Aid station to aid station". So, I just moved, one foot in front of the other- Eat, drink, run. Eat, drink, run. 

I got to the 5 way aid station and met Cheryl. I ate a half of an avocado, some bacon, and gatorade. "How are you doing on salt?" Me: "I've only had 2 all day" "Take one" "Ok". We got going, and we didn't stop. I wanted to get in and out of aid, because I didnt want to waste my time there. We just kept moving, and hiking up, and running flat and running down, and eating, and taking salt, and laughing, and commenting on the beauty of the trails. and... then we finished. And..I knew we would hours before and miles before. I knew it. I was in the moment, every moment, every section, and it was a Great day.

We were greeted by Karl (Meltzer) and Betsy (Johnson) at the finish. Karl as anyone reading this either knows or knows of, and whom I have known since I moved to Utah gave me a ride early Saturday morning. He was helping at the race, sweeping the course, following the very last 50 mile runner to Mile 21.6; A truly inspiring person and runner whose accomplishments and ability I think of often to pull me out of a bad running stretch- then call myself a p!#$$y and get my shit back together. Betsy who just finished the marathon distance, and waited over 3 hours for us at the finish! And, the first words out of her mouth were "I'm so proud of you!" And, Cheryl..who I originally told she didn't have to pace me, because I was going to be painfully slow...I might have made it to the finish line without her, (although I'm not sure) it wouldn't have been as fun or special without her. And, man! Does she know how to take care of her runner..and friends. 

The North face 50 mile
7 out of 9 in my age group
103 out of 125 finishers
13 hours, 29 minutes, and 4 seconds

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

San Juan Solstice 50 DNF- shit.

So, why does this suck? Remember those years when you were not a teenager anymore, but hadn't yet begun to see the shit storm that adulthood can actually rain? Those few years where possibility is taken for granted along with tight skin and eating chili dogs at 2am with zero regret?

That's who I am when I finish an Ultra. The reflection on these insanely hard feats physically warms my skin and I glow for days. Not finishing- well, i felt like shit and like crying, and like defeated with wrinkles and regret for eating birthday own birthday cake, even!

I DNF'd on Saturday at the San Juan Solstice 50 mile in Lake City, CO. I did not drop, I was pulled for not making the first cut off at Williams creek. Mile 16, roughly- 5:20 in to a mentally prepared 16 hour day- done.

I left with my friends Friday morning to drive to CO. We rented a sweet house a mile form the start/finish. It was a 7.5 hour drive. We pulled into Lake City, checked into the race, went to the pre-race meeting, headed to the house, and packed drop bags, took them back to the armory where all the race shit was happening, enjoyed a fish taco dinner, 2 Sierra Nevada's, and bed.

3:45am the first alarm goes off in the house...mine. Up and prepare for battle. I had only run about 25 miles in the weeks before San Juan. My foot is jacked up- shit just hurts,and I am currently ignoring it. Also, smart. But, I woke up feeling rested, fresh, and pretty excited about the long day ahead of me. I actually had a feeling I was going to do really well.

Given the late snow accumulation, the 7 creek crossings were high, rushing, cold,and a little "like woah" a couple times. We were in thigh deep water, My skirt was soaked to my waist to give you an idea of the vigor of some of these crossings. Runners were holding each others hands and helping others get across just to run a few hundred feet to another crossing. But, this might have slowed an already slow climber down even more (cough cough, me). The nice thing about the water was it numbed my busted heel. And we climbed...from 8,600 ft to about 13,200.  Boom...and it was like a force field holding me back, like 2 magnets- Me and the altitude. My heart was beating fast, I was out of breath, my legs were like molasses, and I had fallen way behind the pack I traveled the first 7 miles with.  I began to feel better as the course descended into William Creek aid station, but that was it- i was too late. I think I would have squeaked in if I didn't think I got off trail, and hiked back up about a .25 mile only to find out I was going the right fucking way after all. But, I didn't squeak in, and I didn't make the cut off, and I packed all those drop bags so perfectly for nothing. And, I planned my hydration and pace methodically for nothing. And, I cried like a baby to the volunteer.

And, that was that. I went to the finish and watched my amazing friends come through late in the evening. I wanted to feel that good pain as we sat around the table late Saturday night. Damn, it stung. It stings. I guess it just wasnt my day.

It wasn't just the altitude. It wasn't just my foot. My head got out of this race really early on. Frankly, I had an unpleasant conversation with my husband the night before that left me feeling kinda blue as I was fighting up there on the ridge of the first big climb. I was essentially all alone in this vast land of amazingness and instead of embracing it, my head got out of it. It just wasn't my day.

I just got back from a 6 mile run in Little Cottonwood. I was alone with my music and ran hard and faster than I ever have up there, filled with rage and disappointment. But, some peace came as I finished. I'm in search of more peace with this...and redemption...Speedgoat50k on the horizon.

Sad didn't make cut off Selfie

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

You are unique...Just like everyone else

It's weird when you fancy yourself a writer, but can't find words to write. 

Permanent is a false hood stickered
with forever's and ever's.

Broken worlds are permanent
yet contradict it's very definition.

SO we take what we can and convince
ourselves it's good, and move on to the next.

A fried salmon brain, farm raised like clones
and yet you think you are special.

I do too. But, I keep it hidden in pretty pinks
and twirl it around in an ambiguous delight.

Why do you do anything? Why do I?
I believe I work for myself

trying to overcome my own permanents.
But, I see your facade and wonder why?

It's a battle, fake fame and admiration
for nothing extraordinary; simply a little above average than ordinary.

And, we praise these people and take part
in a submarine journey of divergence,

and I really just want to smell the wildflowers
and hear the hum of thousands of Honey bees

Life is so simple and we make it so complicated,
go a little further, sleep a little less, push a little more

It's all so generic- the world we dance in
It's all been said a million times,

So stop talking so it for you
because you are able to do it, whatever that is.

When I was small I picked hundreds of honeysuckle
and slurped the sweet nectar.

I counted sidewalk slabs, watched shrub tree leaves
two step in the wind. I twirled around the reservoirs,

I did inside things outside, just to feel something.
Yes, you are unique...just like everyone else.

Monday, April 28, 2014

..Not about running

Baltimore Bred-> Salt Lake Fled
"Didn't know I was lost "

Strangely, I am drawn to my blog only to describe the uttermost emotions that come with ultra running, lately.  I tend to go head over heels in all things I love- so it's no surprise that running has become as much a part of my life as anything else.   So, to my dearest friends and closest family, I apologize for my repetitive posts, pictures of a mountain, or the the blazing sunrises; as they may just be just rocks or the blue sky to you.

But, a loooong time ago, as it feels to me, I didn't know what the fuck I was doing when I packed my LL.Bean monogrammed duffel bag (oh, and my sisters, I hope she didn't want that back) packed my belongings, which was really a collection of Roxy shirts and hoodies from the Rugged Warehouse or Ross dress for less, and a dual cassette and 3 CD carousel stereo ,and moved out west.

Like, I really had no fucking idea what I was doing! lol. This is so funny to this mom of 2 who now meal plans, reads washing instructions, volunteers at school, and gets up every morning at 4:45am to run.  Perhaps, I am too dependent upon this need to get outside and move as far as I can with the scarce time I have before my little world wakes up; Perhaps, it is too much of my life which is plenty full with 2 little girls, a husband, a house, a lovely old dog...a family across the country who I visit  as often as I can.  But, it's something I won't let be taken from me. It's something I won't give up, as it is essential for this feeling of completeness. I refuse to be a victim of time, or sleep, or self worth. Ive done that, didn't work for me.

For many years, I forgot why I moved to Utah. I forgot what drove me from Maryland like a bat out of hell, like a caged bird, freed...or, maybe like a coward, running away; because life was too hard, too unhappy, too much not living.

I was running away.  I was really heartbroken over a boy- how original? But, it was true. I ran away from discipline and rules and curfews. But,  I also  ran away from bottles, and drugs, and self destruction. And, I ran away from a systematic life evolution that I did not fit in to; I tried to mold, I tried to fit, but I was crooked, bent, upside down, like a frown.

I found something outdoors that struck a chord in me. A peaceful chord, that although I sported with long skirts and braids, I never actually felt until I was outside of my life in Baltimore; that always felt chaotic. Even in the deafening silence of nothing, the chaos in me roared and moaned in ultra highs and self loathing lows. A bouncy ball popping off walls and then rolling slowly under the couch still and alone, until something picked me up and threw me again.
So, I ran to Utah with  friends in one's beat to shit Toyota. And, we drove through the night changing cassette tapes every 2 hours, bathing in the sinks at rest stops across middle America; drinking coffees the size of our forearms, and counting miles by 100's. I was 21 and playing in the snow. At peace in the cold dry air, outside in the wet chilly spring, outside in the warm 6am mornings, and outside in base layers and gloves moving, working, then running again..but not away this time.

I've jumped off course over the years when life gets too hard, too unhappy, or too not enough living, again. And,I still have no idea what I'm doing, but Now, I know I'm doing whatever it is, right. Simply living in the present has been the biggest gift I've been given. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Buffalo Run 100 miles (My first 100)

First thing is first: I mentally committed to absolutely finishing this race before I took my first step on to the course.

 So, Friday at noon, we are off.  I could discuss every section of the course. I could tell you about the terrain and it's ease. I could write about the runners who passed me, as I smiled and was at peace with my 14 minute mile pace as I slowly glided up and down the first 19.5 miles of the course. But, that was the easy part.  This first loop of the first 50 mile course is the most "technical" of the entire race. And, it's not that technical.  There is some moderate climbing, but nothing compared to what I have done in our Wasatch mountains. This first 19.5 miles is the section of the course that I have done countless times in training runs over the last 2 years.  I know it, no surprises, so I was moving slowly, listening to music, enjoying the sunshine, trying not to think about the sunsets and sunrises that still lay before me. I remember looking at my watch as I came around the winding trail and saw the start finish for the first of 4 times in my near future. I was 4 hours in, to what I had mentally prepared for a 28 hour run.

Not much to tell for many miles ahead, but I hit the start finish, 19.5 mi. in 4:15. My time was 30 minutes longer than last year when I did this 50 mile loop. But, last year I only did this 50 mile loop once..not twice. This is where I first saw my one woman support team. Cheryl! I smiled, I asked about her day, she loaded up my race vest, the sun was shining, we were both smiling, I was on my way..."See ya in a few hours".

Because my dear friend advised me to write down all the good things that happened out there's #1. Miles 19.5-27.5 were just blissful. I listened to the entire Mumford and Son's  Babel album. I listened to the entire Counting Crows, Recovering the Satellites album. I was reflective on things in my life that are or were heavy.  If I began to run faster than 14 min. miles, I slowed down, and stayed at 14:00. I was eating, I was drinking, I was organized, I was pain free, it was my perfect stretch.

The next 20+ miles were uneventful.  I saw Cheryl twice at the Lower Frary aid station. I hit it once, she loaded me up, told me to take my head lamp, as it would be dark on my way back, and I was out of there. I would be back at Lower frary in 11 miles.  Leaving there, we runners go out 5.6 miles to the Ranch house on Antelope Island, then turn back around for another 5.6.Not surprisingly, I began to get uncomfortable, and experience some pain in the joints, in the feet, and in the arms and shoulders. But, I felt considerably good. I was eating regularly, I was taking salt every hour, I had ZERO stomach issues throughout this entire race (#2 good thing).  This section of the course 20-50 are flat.  ran about 16 miles of this section in the dark with a lamp and my music on a shuffle.  I had dropped between a 15-16 minute a mile pace, but was comfortable with that, given I knew in a few hours I was starting the 50 mile course all over again. 

I got to the start finish line for the second time. one sun had set. it  had taken about 12:40 hours to do the first 50. Right on schedule. Here I'd meet Cheryl and we'd be off in to the night to start the second 50 miles. Before race day, I wrote these miles off in  my head. I knew I'd meet my friend, and we'd chat to pass the time, hiking, running, getting it done, like we have done so many times before. 4-5 mornings a week all winter long, every Saturday, many Sundays, the 55k we did in Moab a month before. I wrote these miles off as the "easy" ones to get through because I was going at them with my friend. I had just spent 13 hours alone on the trail, and this was going to be a brand new run...except, I was having trouble actually running.

Pain and fatigue were setting in, significantly in the feet and knees. But, I was still happy with the pace. We moved well through out the night.  We did some considerable jogging on all the downhills. We hiked the 8 switchbacks swiftly enough, and we reached Elephant head aid station for my 4th and final time of this race around 5:20 am..."Did it just get colder?" I asked, Chery. "Yeah, it really did."....

There were 3 or 4 men sitting down in the aid station tent. One of them I recognized from yesterday, he asked me to move out of his way at mile 8 ish.  He was wrecked in a chair, not moving anywhere now, unable to speak or gesture at me, just a glance up in our direction. I knew that feeling, and I had been scared to death of it creeping up in me all day and night. Another man was wrapped in a blanket, and another his head in his hands. This was roughly mile 63

As we headed down the trail, working our way towards the start finish for my third time of the race.  The temperature dropped and the wind picked up fiercely. Ughhh..spoiled by really good running weather all day and night, this unexpected weather brutally whipping our faces and chilling our bodies, sucked.  We sucked it up somehow with hand warmers, and the knowledge that we were almost to the aid station and mile 69.

The sky was a deep blue as the sun was rising in the west. it would be daylight as I started the third leg miles 70-100.  Truthfully, I didn't think much about these miles. I thought they would be relatively easy to conquer given their proximity to completion.  On the contrary, these were the most difficult. The sun was up. Cheryl loaded up my race vest, Jill was there ready to start the 50k. The 50 milers took off at 6am, almost 2 hours ago. I remember Jill said"you're going to finish your first 100 today" She said "it will be like this (she moved her hand in an up and down'll have some up's and down's) "But, you're there".

And, so, I left the warmth of the tent back out to a clear, cold, windy morning.  And, I was overwhelmed with the 30 miles that I still had to gobble up praying to God that they wouldn't gobble me up first. The wind was so terrible, that the tears falling from eyes as I hiked in pain up the dirt road to the mountain view trail head cleared my face sideways.  My music died and I was too cold to mess with pulling out my back up.  I was close to the road at this point, and I spotted Cheryl in her Subaru stopped on the side looking down the trail, looking for me. I waved at her, and pointed to the parking lot ahead of me, where the out and back of this section turned around. I got in her car. "It's so windy!" she said. 

I'm not sure if she could see it in my face, or hear it in my voice, but I was feeling defeated at this very moment. "Ill meet you at lower frary, and run the rest of the way with you" Originally, she would have still met me at Lower Frary, but the second time through that aid station, of my second loop, running that last 11 miles with me (I know it's all so confusing, Ill post a map below, so it makes more sense) But, she was going to do the last 20ish with me instead. The gold spirit and the positive energy had been sucked out of me by the change in weather, my pulsating toes, and my fatigue were screaming JUST STOP! at me. Cheryl did not let me dive into that, she just got me back out there. I started this race over 20 hours ago, and I found no comfort in the fact that I had only 30 more miles to go, but quite the opposite.  Cheryl had given me her fleece hooded jacket before I left the start/finish for my third time. I sat in her heated car as I ate food, ate salt, and got my back up music on. She got me my other hat. And, i got out of her heated, windless car with  2 hats and a hood on.  I was shivering for miles. I briefly thought I was having fever symptoms; as the wind finally shifted and the sun was completely up, but I was still shaking and cold.  I made it about 6 miles where the trail crosses the road, and there was Cheryl, again.  She was waiting with cut up fresh pineapple and melons. Ill meet you at the aid station, which was about a mile away.  I got there, I got in her car again. I ate the fruit and the fruit was good. She was getting dressed to finish this  thing with me   I wanted to change my socks, they were wet and filled with little rocks and grains of dirt and sand. The blister on my toe looked like a hammer head fish.  "that doesn't look good" Cheryl said with a half smile. "what should I do?" "Ya gotta pop it, I have a lighter, anti-bacterial stuff, and some band aids". So, I took the safety pin off my bib, and sparked it up. I popped that sucker in 3 different places as water oozed down my foot. I bandaged that toe and  a few other blisters, and crammed my swollen feet back in to my once pretty pink and purple Hokas, that I now wanted to spit and piss on, and throw out the window.

 Here's the mileage break down in my brain at this point

5.6 miles to the ranch, ugh.
5.6 miles back from the ranch, shit
5ish miles to the mountain view aid station, ok, then I'll be able to see it (it: that point where completion is attainable)
6 miles, that road to the finish is going to hurt.

If I wrote about each of those pieces of this race, then this will be twice as long. But, these were the hardest miles I have ever slugged through. It's important for me to note the good thing in each of these final sections was again having my friend Cheryl with me. My feet felt broken. With each step I whimpered. I began to sob when she said we'd have to pick up the pace or I would not make the cut off. And, when I began to think about that fact, I felt even lower and bluer than I can ever remember. To work so hard physically and mentally for so many months, and then for so many hours in the heat of it, to be so close... and realize that it might not have been enough enough...well,it just broke me. And, I sobbed. Im not even sure if there were actual tears left in me at this point, but I sobbed. Neither of us said a thing. Cheryl put her arm around me, and we walked on for a few minutes, until I dropped behind her again, and walked as fast as I fucking could. And the only way I could move at all was watching her feet in front of me.

"I know it's going to hurt but we have to run some if we are going to make it". She began a timed walk run. We'd walk 10 minutes and then run a minute and a half; these jaunts riddled me with physical pain, and I'd grunt and whimper at the end of each. 

(Begin the fast, you're gonna finish this thing music)

I asked Cheryl to count down the miles to me. "11", "10", "9", (Single digits) "7" (whew, I was hoping she skipped one, or that was a lonnng mile:)

When we got to the Mountain View aid station, we had about 2:20 to go 6 miles. This part of the course half sucks. You spend 2 miles on the road and  cutting across a rugged field like area with poky little plant life. The concrete felt like baseball bats swinging in to my heels, toes, and knees with every single step. The dirt was slightly more forgiving, but not much.  We were moving too slow for comfort.  Once we hit the the 3 ish more miles to go, Cheryl told me to go ahead. I saw her slowing down and holding her stomach. She was getting ill, and I felt horrible that she had spent literally 25 hours making sure I ate and drank, so intently, that she might have forgotten to eat herself.

I walked quickly, and jogged the slight inclines, but again this trail is mostly flat.  Every. Single. Step. Hurt. My voice was shaky and ready to sob again when everyday hikers and runners would pass "Good Job! "keep it up!", they'd say. I politely said "thanks", but I didn't believe them.  I kept going, because really what the hell can you do when your 2 miles away from finishing. The sun was setting for the second time. The mile long road to the finish was difficult, but I jogged/walked.  I saw my yellow B.O.B in the distance, up against the fence at the start/ finish. I was about to get there for my fourth and final time. Olivia my daughter spotted me, and ran down to the road to meet me. I saw my husband, my youngest daughter, Sylvia in her ridiculously cute little rain boots, Jill was there too. Not many other spectators or cars. The races were essentially over. I was going to make the cut off, i knew that now. I was mere feet away from the mats. 

Done. Holy Hell. I'm done. Thank God, I'm done and I finished my first 100 mile race. 30:18 was my final time.  14 women started the 100 miler on Friday, 8 finished. I was 8th.  70 people were registered for the race, 46 crossed the finish line, I was 44th.  

I had to write about this, because it almost doesn't seem like it happened. The farthest I had run up until this past weekend was 50 miles.  Out there, I thought at one point, this is going to make me hate running, but that was a short lived feeling derived from flight or fight.  I felt like I was failing for many, many, many hours out there. But, as reflection comes later, I was fighting not failing. Cheryl is so experienced with ultra running, ya know, being an ultra runner and a Meltzer, and all...I put all my trust in to whatever she said to do. But, mostly she was my friend out there. 
A few weeks ago, I asked her very sincerely not to let me quit.Well, she kept her promise:)

So, that was that. Clearly, I'm not a competitor in ultra running, but it's something I really enjoy, and I'm not embarrassed that I am slow.  I've said it before, but that feeling of accomplishing something so difficult is so good for the soul..for my toes, eh, not so much.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Red Hot

I've lived in Utah almost 14 years, and I had never been to Moab. For locals or transplants, you know how lame that is. I've been south, I've been on Route 6 en route to CO, I've been on the Arizona /Utah border backpacking years ago, but never been to Moab,so why not see 34 miles of it, on foot. I had to remember to look up, and when I did, I was like holy shit, how cool is this??

We made a family trip centered around me running a 55k in the desert. I didn't think much about the run. It was a training run for "my race"  next month. I didn't think it would be easy, I just didn't think it would be that hard. Obviously, i was wrong or I wouldn't have italicized, "that". The Speedgoat told me to run it in prep for the 100, so I did, without even looking at the course.

I went out faster than I should, keeping up with my dear friend Cheryl, my partner in crime in all things running who tells me my headlamp is on upside down, and reminds me to drink water, and gives me safety pins for my bibs (when I remember my bibs but inevitably forget the safety pins).  She's strong and smart and experienced, and I frazzle with hydration and clothes.  But, we have been running together for almost 2 years now, and have been training hard all this winter. I dropped back behind her around mile 6, and she said "I love you, Natalie!" when I dropped back some more:) 

I could still see her ahead at mile 13, and not again until much later and much farther away. I was moving well and feeling great, 10-11 minute miles... my pace, my terrain, rolling hills, some fun rock obstacles, nothing too hard or too easy.  At mile 17, I looked at my watch, 3:18. I smiled, I said either out loud or in my head, I can do this in 6:30 if I keep this pace. Annnnd, then I burped.  Sulfer and gatorade came up the back of my throat, like a long twisted finger waving at me, "uh uh Miss, this is far from over". FUUUCK.  I tried to ignore this brew a bubbling in my belly of a salt tablet, beef jerky, gatorade, Power gel, ibuprofen, potato chips, and a shot of soda...breakfast of an ultra runner.

Ok, so I got sick a few times, or gagged and dry heaved horribly for minutes at a time. I was walking as fast as I could which still shot me to 18 minute miles. "Ok, walk until you hit 4 hours on your watch" "You can do this, get through this, you're fine" "Ok, Ill eat a gel when I hit 20 miles" My music was making my stomach turn and I was about to hit the slick rock, where i had to keep my eyes sharp for trail markers and flags so I didn't wind up and down adding more distance. I pulled out my phone, which I carry because I'm a mom before anything else, and constant connection is necessary to me, just in case. I texted Scott to let him know that I would finish later than I expected. "Stay Strong, We love you!!" he wrote back. I smiled ear to ear. That gave me the strength to press on.  He's not a runner but he is my crew supporting me in everything I want to do. He understands that this makes me happy and accomplished, and that's all he needs to know to give the encouragement and support he does. So, there was my third wind, my push, so I kept moving.  The hardest part of the course was still  ahead of me "Eat Nat, Eat, You know you have to eat". I ate, first a gel that I choked down, and immediately felt better, like I knew I would. Then I ate a jerky, then a salt, then water.

I hiked as fast as I could,  but it was slow, still hitting 18 minute miles going up, up, up. The slick rock was different than road, harder. It has variation like a trail with the hard impact of the road. Shit, this fucking hurts! My ankles and toes. I felt 2 nails pop, or raise up from the toe. They are still there, but not for long, I'm certain of that.   Ah well.  Saw a few DNF's  at the last 2 aid stations. Nope, not me. It never crossed my mind.  Ok, here we go last 5 miles. Wow, I could run! I ran..slow, but I ran, 13-14 minute miles, but I ran. Slow, but I ran and I finished in 7:41.

Next up, The Buffalo Run at Antelope Island, 100 miles. Wish me luck and an iron stomach

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Getting ready to Dig Deep

                                                                  100 Mile Prep

I got a little private message from a high school friend asking if my blog was down for good, and said she enjoyed reading about my running.  So, here I am. It's a new year and it's the same old me, but I'm good with me, so ya know, fuck being better because a clock struck midnight and a new puppy calendar unveiled itself on my fridge. Be better every day, or at least try.

This is coming from a girl who spent a lot of time getting by and waiting for her life to start, and I consider myself a constant work in progress. But, it turns out, I like myself after all; and because of that I want to be healthy and grow white hair old, I want to see what I can do, I want to push myself so god damn far that I cry and then go some more, and then a little more.

So, I signed up for a 100 mile ultra out at the Great Salt Lake. The Buffalo Run at Antelope Island. Ill drive on out to the salty cold lake on March 21, so in about 10 weeks.  Ill start this thing with maybe 100 other runners at noon on a Friday.  If all goes well, Ill be shrieking in pain at each acceleration of the gas peddle home, by noon the next day. Wait..Shit, hopefully someone will be driving me home.

I'm doing this because I have this overwhelming feeling that I am going to  have to fight really hard some day. For what? I don't know. But, that need to dig deeper than I know even exists right now,  burns very strong in me.  I'm scared to do this,  but that's half the reason it intrigues me. Ultra running has not caused me to lose a tremendous amount of weight and I don't win, nor can I compete with other runners for that matter! I'm back of the pack, I talk myself outta holes at every race, but I keep signing up for these things! In 2013, I ran my first Ultra; the 50 mile at antelope island. The 100 is the 50...twice. I then ran 4 more ultras, paced a friend at her first 100, and finished the year with a road marathon in  my beloved Baltimore.  Because that feeling of finding enough to get at it when you puke, when you hurt, when your ass is so chaffed it burns like a crackling fire, that feeling of finishing, for me,  outweighs it all.

(I wont get in to training in detail. I run 6 days a week anywhere from 6- 20 miles.  I don't get over 60 miles in a week, usually 50ish, while shooting for 60. ( I have kids, know, got other stuff to do) I like classes so I take 4 a week, 2 yogas, 1 pilates and a spin) I eat a lot, so my weight is pretty consistent and Im good with it)

HAppy New Year!
Thanks Alecia! That felt good to share! You Ultra baby maker
Pocatello 50k

Scout Mountain, Pocatello, ID

My truest addiction is music and running, together 

Antelope Island, State Park

Corner Canyon, Draper utah

Oh well


No one can really know Everything about you, but

I cannot live with someone who can't live without me.
Nadine Gordimer