Tuesday, December 6, 2016

And there we swayed
on a sinking ship
with a broken smile
and a bloody drip

Around my shoe
forming a puddle
missing time
nothing but subtle

cries of anger
and manic laughs
with boiling souls
and sarcastic banter.

The water rising
now stealing our necks
Our hands clasp
our legs intersect.

The silence is enough
to scare me to death
which is fitting
as I have not one breath

I should have said it
I should have ran
I should have played with them
more in the mountains and in the sand

I should have left this space
and seeked out more
more as in less
more as in to soar.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

If you're going through hell....

If you are going through hell..keep going.

My theory on that quote comes full circle, that if you enter it, you must be able to exit it.  That is something I have always carried with me, since I was a young adult with a heart so broken over a boy that I thought I might actually stop breathing out of utter sadness. Dramatic?..yes. But, I feel with every piece of me, entirely consumed, but also intrigued by pain; more-so, the ability to heal.   I carried it with me when my mother died. I watched her take her last breath, and her body lay still and stiff in a hospice bed..and I bent down to her face and she was gone..and I suffocated for moments. I left this world for moments, and I went through hell and hung out there for a very long time. I found a way out, I found a way to heal, to get through hell. Some of which was not very smart or healthy.  Sometimes I'd close my eyes while driving fast, to see what would happen. Other times, I'd drift off into a haze of bottles and pills and turn the world off. And, some days, I'd go for 4-5 hour road runs with nothing but not enough water and music for no reason except to run away. And then those some days turned into more days...and then some more. And, when I felt that physical pain, I didn't embrace it or enjoy it as much as related to it on a level that I'm still not sure I can put into words accurately or articulately.  The best way I can is to say it was my only friend in the world that i could relate to and who understood me.  Somehow the pain that came from running for hours on empty ate the sadness that wrapped around me like ivy. The sadness became tangible and I could control it. I could hold on to it for hours, I could fight it, I could tell it not to leave me yet..or I could tell it to go fuck itself and keep running through it,  or to it, or from it...I'm not sure which..probably depended on the day

I realized over the last few weeks that the things that drives each of us to the mountains or the road is very different, and that to me is a beautiful diversity of unique individuals with wildly varying fires in their bellies, hearts, and legs.

 I paced 3 runners in 100 mile race's in the last 2 weeks.  Backup- I paced or accompanied 3 friends in their own  unique endeavors and adventures.

It was wild being on the other side of a 100 mile run.  Not that I have done so many- which is why it is all so interesting, intense, and exciting for me to watch and hopefully help someone in these very never-ending-esqe forward motions.  Goals, reasons, decisions, motivation, perseverance, ups that come fast and downs that come faster, mentally speaking.  The only thing that I find comforting when you are feeling so down and quite frankly, like total dog shit..is that nothing lasts forever, not even hell; and the most eye opening and profound thing I learned is that it is your own hell, and your own decision to exit when you're ready.  And, I'm speaking both literally and metaphorically.  I have yet to reach peace with pain. Perhaps it's the cross I strap to my back like my pack.

I'm so proud of my friends. Proud to call them friends and humbled by their efforts and even more in love with dirt than i ever though possible.  What a trip man.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Speedgoat 50k

I went back to Basics at The Speedgoat. Gels, S-caps, 20oz of water and EFS pro an hour, no watch for mileage, just time of day.

I paid really close attention to eating.
I paid really close attention to running when I could run.
Hiking fast when I should be hiking.
**Staying Cool** (Thank You Eve)

Secretly, I was hoping to break 10 hours.
By mile 20 I was pretty sure I could hit 10:30
And, by mile 28, I was convinced I could PR with under 10:55.
Well, I came in at 11:02, and I was elated. You know why? Because I had a good day
And, by the time I was rounding the switchbacks over by Baby Thunder, I was still running. I had been running all day, and taking care of myself, by myself
and I felt good. Shit, I felt great.

Last year's Speedgoat took me 12:14. When I dragged myself down those switchback's last year I was interrupted from walking to puke every couple of minutes. I had been throwing up black for the last 4 hours , at this point last year.

Last year, I wanted nothing more than to leave the minute I finished. And, when I was on the bathroom floor all night throwing up and crying in fatigue and pain
I wanted nothing more than to feel better.
And, when my husband had to pull the clothes off of me and help me sit in the shower; and asked me...Why do you do this to yourself? I wanted nothing more than to  have an answer that made sense, to me. Because, "it's fun" was no longer going to sum it up at this juncture.

I thought about that question a lot. -Like a whole lot. (I could go into great depths why I do this, but only I need to know why. And, in the simplest and fewest of words, it's because it's important to me)
I was reborn after Wasatch with the reason why? WHY? I mean HOW COULD ANYONE NOT!? 
What a Great day Wasatch 100 was, and a great finish after the many challenges that preceeded the last 25 miles

And then 2016 races began, and I found myself back on the bathroom floor, or on the couch with a bowl looking up insta-cares, or on the side of the trail in tears with a raw throat unable to eat or drink or even have an ice cube slowly melt on my tongue without a horrific and painful battle with my stomach. 
I figured that out, by the way..with the help of my friend Jill, whom saw my puke at Antelope Island 50 and said "that's not right"...
Doctor. Endoscopy. Bacteria. Ulcer. Lactose Intolerant.2 week of Antibiotics-8 pills a day. No more dairy.

This alone was very encouraging. However after the BOSHO marathon in April, my ankle became sore to the touch. Bone. Ouch. I Took off for close to 5 weeks, where I came out on a rainy Saturday and ran 10 miles pain free. Bryce 100 was only 4 weeks away from that first double digit mile in over a month...
I was leery, but confidant in my mental endurance, but my training had taken a significant lull.  But I felt good head to toe stomach to flow.

I went out to Bryce and finished. It turned into a clock race, and I came in at 38 hours. I was happy to finish, but obviously wish things had gone better. 

So, back to present day. Speedgoat was 3 weeks out from Bryce. And, my last race scheduled for this year. I did a lot early. Moab Red Hot 55k, Antelope Island 50 mile, BoSho Marathon, Scout Mountain 35k, Bryce 100. 
And, last up was my favorite and hardest race ever.
Speedgoat 50k.

I could have come in at 11hrs, but once I knew I was just seconds away from under 11:00 hours at 10:59:55 with the finish in site. I slowed to a walk and pulled out my other bottle. My mouth was cotton, and I had avoided stopping 20 minutes ago for my second bottle cuz I was pushing hard to get under 11:00. Once I knew I'd finish in the 11th hour, I got some water and ran it in. Cornering the service road, my daughters came running towards me.  And, we ran under the Hoka finish arch, and Karl gave me a high five, a Speedgoat Pint glass, an Ultragen recovery drink, and my third Speedgoat 50k medal.
"I think we have a PR", Karl said.  "Nope, 10:55, but that was when the end was all downhill!" I chuckled. I guess it was a PR on the current course, and I was 1 hour and 12minutes  faster than last year. But, as I melted into a chair with a grapefruit beer and a turkey avocado sandwich my husband brought me, time had also melted away. I felt GREAT! I was celebrating after a very hard race, not clawing internally and focusing only on leaving so I could wallow in my pain alone. 

I  hope this is not the last Speedgoat.  But, if so, I am so glad I got to experience such an amazingly difficult race, and finish 3 times. Perhaps, I love this race so much because it's my friend's race. And the truly amazing and inspiring people I have met  are all there; RD'ing, volunteering, marshaling, sweeping,  putting ice bandanas on me, encouraging me, yelling my name as i came in and out of aid stations. Maybe because it's at Snowbird, the place where it all started for me in Utah. Maybe it's because it's one of  the hardest physical challenges I have ever had; and I feel pretty bad ass finishing, regardless of the time. 
I can't tell you how great it felt to go out on races this year on a high note. I' haven't had a great one all year, until Speedgoat. 

Next up: Pacing Betsy at the Wasatch100 
Pacing Cheryl at the Bear 100
Happy Running. Happy, Happy Running.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Bryce 100

 And all those things I didn't say,  wrecking balls inside my brain....

My Power's turned up...

I'll be strong...

And I don't really care if nobody else believes...

Cuz I still gotta a lot of fight left in me.

So many stories come from one race. And, as Betsy reminded me, that's because you're out here for so long! 

I don't know if plans work for other runners, but my races never seem to go how I envision them. Even on the rare occasion I do everything right-or as planned, the twisted fates of mine seem to twirl me into a spiral of great or worse. My "race report" might read more like a short story taking liberal advantages with poetic license, and peppered with some seriously painful blisters, math calculations, and bowel movements. 

Bryce was my third 100 mile race. I came in last, placed 102, female #19 at 38:06.  Part of me, the very small boat in a big ocean part of me, is bummed about my time. If you know me, you know that I absolutely swoon over the long distances, and you also know I am not speedy at the long distances. I have an almost romantic relationship with a good playlist and an ascending single track down a mountain, and that is the dragon I chase.
I am not very competitive by nature, which makes "racing" not only ironic, but also difficult for me.  However, I love the atmosphere, the friendships, the beauty, the aid, and the finish of races, that sometimes I view as organized and assisted runs rather than races. Given all that fluffy information about me; I still thought I'd finish Bryce in 34 hours or less. 

In the post-holing months of layers and gloves, the fantastical warmth of summer mornings dance in the back of our minds. And in the desert in June, just the opposite.  We started out Friday morning at 6:01 am. It was 36 degrees at the start line. It warmed up soon enough, and I was cruising at my very own pace for miles. Really enjoying the views. Stopping dead where I stand at the first glimpse of the Red Hoo Doo's and the vast green forests afar. Then, gulping at the fact that I would still be moving this same time tomorrow.  But, you can't think about that, or you shouldn't. The time can overwhelm me and induce impatience and can open the flood gates of negativity.   My sweet Olivia told me that she believes my mom comes into our yard and visions in the form of a butterfly. As I moved through the variable and ever changing scenery of the course, I was often visited by the flutters of my mom as a Monarch Butterfly. This made me smile and tear, jumping emotional lily pads. One moment blissful gratitude for my daughters, then a whimper that I was so far away from them. I was very emotional on Friday. I was drenched in thought, and my mind is a hard thing to turn off.

Honestly, I thought the distances between aid stations were too far the first 30 miles, and therefore, the last 30 as well. The aid and volunteers were great. But, I ran out of water every stretch of those in-between's . Perhaps that was my fault, but 60 oz of water usually gets me through 10 miles or less, so that's what I brought, and that wasn't enough.  However, I was moving really well, and noticed that I am improving on power hiking.  boom, boom, boom. I trucked along all day long, eating so much and so often. My tribe would be proud of this little former puker. By god I think I've done repaired & reformed my stomach. So- That was #1 GOOD thing about Bryce, solid tummy. 

So here I am moving well. Mile, 10, 20, 30, 40, 45, 46, 47777, 488888, 4999999. Shit, it's dark. My feet had started to bother me around mile 30. Nothing too bad. And, not to sound like too much of a self proclaimed tough cookie, but pain doesn't bother me. Frankly, endorphin's usually mask my pain so incredibly well, that I don't even know something hurts or is broken until the run is over.  But, my feet were getting trashed early on.  I failed to take a head lamp going forward to the turn-around, mile 51.65. The sun went down as I was making my way through the single track into Crawford Aid. I was tripping on nature, and wishing that brutal sun would come back for just 30 more minutes. All day, I held close to my heart the idea of calling my girls at the turn around to say goodnight, and to gain some energy from their sweet voices and well wishes. As the night grew darker, I wept that I would miss them before bed.  I was in rough shape when I got to Betsy and Nancy.

I was so happy to see them both. "where's my car?" I asked. "Why?" asked Betsy. It was like she knew I already decided I was going to lay for just a minute. And, it was like she already decided that wasn't happening.  "Can you get my phone?" Betsy handed me my phone a few minutes later...No Service.:(

My friends sat me in a chair, changed my shoes and socks for me; something I don't usually do, but I had to try something to remedy the feet. Ibuprofen wasn't doing a thing for the pain. I ate soup and fried chicken I brought from home. My crew and pacer angels filled my pack, dressed me warmly, and Nancy and I trekked outta there at 10:30pm. I felt better. I was loaded up with calories and was relieved to be on the other side of 50. After a few hours of fighting the sleepy monster, I asked Nancy if I could shut my eyes for a few minutes. She gave me 2 minutes, that felt like 2 seconds. She let me sit down on the trail again, if I promised to eat while I sat. We went into Mile 62 at 2:00am.

 I sat in my car this time. I ate more soup, I drank a Red Bull, I changed my shoes back, still trying to ease my burning toes, pads, and heels. Then, Betsy and I headed out into the early morning hours. We only had 4 more hours until the heat of hell rose in the east. #2 GOOD thing, Betsy and I had a lot of fun chatting, laughing, eating & moving through the night. The cool weather was intoxicating, and although my feet were on fire, I jogged the downhills at her lead. We made it to mile 75 right before 7:00am. Shortly after that, I took off my socks. The sand, the friction, the sweat was unbearable. It was the only thing left I could try. So, I ran close to 20 mile with no socks, foot to shoe. The magic of mile 75 lasted for a few hours as we trucked through the morning. The blisters on my toes grew along with the intense sunshine. Aid Stations had run out of ice and cold water, bacon, and anything remotely palatable. I ate a sandwich that was in my pack and gel's the rest of the afternoon. I was slowing down to a slow walk by mile 86 on the brutal climb out or Proctor. We were now sharing the trail with the fresh and speedy 50k racers, and the 50 mile runners, too and getting asked to move out of the way frequently. I kept running out of water, and Betsy selflessly gave me her own more than once. There was no ice or means of cooling down at aid stations, at this point. We just had to deal with our rising core temps and swelling fingers. Salt, Salt, Salt, Gel, warm water, warm gatorade.  A small run off of cold water was salvation approaching the last aid station at Thunder Mountain. EVERYONE stopped and waddled in the puddle.

I knew we would be OK even at a slow pace, to go 7.5 miles from the last aid to the finish, and still make the 36 hour mark. I needed aid. I needed food, I needed ice and cold water. I also needed 7.5 miles, and no more than that. -And, I got none of that.

Betsy ran ahead to the aid. She was going to fill a sock with ice to keep on my neck. I approached a few minutes behind an irritated pacer. No ice. No cold water, in fact there was a line for warm water. They had little food, and nothing substantial left. But, the kicker was a white board that said the distance to the finish was 9 miles. The last 30+ hours had proven longer distances between about half the aid stations, by my math I was convinced this race was closer to 105 miles. And although it was only 1.5 miles longer than the website promised, it was too much, and I began to feel defeated. My blisters were riddling me with pain, to the point I was wincing and quivering at a jog. We now had 3 hours to go 9 miles with one of the biggest climbs of the race, and I was essentially crawling. I cried for a few minutes. 

I was angry and confused. I had been making cut -offs with hours to spare since the start. Once I accepted this point in the race for what it was. I said to Betsy. We will be fine, I am working and moving as fast as I can right now, and if I work any harder I'll kill myself.  I will move as fast as I can to the finish, hopefully they will give me an official finish time.
 My lungs were audibly filled with dust. I hadn't taken a clean deep breath since last night. My feet were wet, blistered, and burning. My back was throbbing given my compensated run to find some run/walk that spared my feet, unsuccessfully.  I ran out of water again, and again, Betsy gave me her own, and my core temp was so high I truly think you could have cooked a pot roast on my head.

So, I walked and winced in pain with every step. Betsy called Nancy and let her know we were walking it in to the finish. I still wanted to finish. Nancy walked the course backwards with ice and cold water. With over 3 miles left we were both dry as a bone.  The three of us walked to the finish, and I shuffled over the timing mat to the applause of the runners around. "Congratulations!  Go see my son to get your buckle."

I actually did get an official finish time, and my third 100 mile finish and buckle. I collapsed in a chair, vibrating and drained from the last 2 days. We shuttled back to my car. I took a shower in a public wash room and drank a warm beer as the hot water washed layers of dirt off my body. 
We headed back to Salt Lake after.

I don't know numbers, but so many people dropped.  Do I wish it would have gone better?- well, duh, yes. But, I am happy that I kept going. I am happier that I had 2 really amazing women by my side, and friends and family cheering me on from a distance. Encouraging messages from my family, my sister's text quoting my motivational song, a text from my husband to stay strong and finish, no matter what. I did the best I could, I really did. And, I am happy with the accomplishment. 

~I spared you the bowel movement details, but just know they existed and were graphic.~

I value time to reflect on not only races, but moments during them. The small moments or the few miles of smiles where the feeling of self pride and joy of the moment over ride the negativity and the impatience. When you put on your music, or laugh with your friend, and enjoy the run. 

Next up, Speegoat. The MONSTER of the 50k distance.

Monday, May 23, 2016

BEFORE POST Bryce 100 June 17, 2016

I kept telling myself as the past few weeks passed by like a large hour glass with it's grains pouring to a pile in front of my feet; be positive. Think positive, be patient, do what you can. I am not inspired by motivational memes and by the social media runners who share every mile and moment with the world. I too get excited and energized by the personal thrill and the vast depths of mountains and canyon trails- And I too share with my little world. But sometimes it's just about me and my moments and they are mine, as yours are yours.  Tangent- I digress-as I do.

My point is, Im a fighter, a survivor, a slogger, and rougher around the edges of every mold I fit; this is how I see myself, anyway. So, it's very easy for me to go into defense mode, especially against myself. But - Be kind I told myself, be positive and positive things will happen. Now, I don' tthink this positive thinking has medically healed my ankle- i think that has been the time I took off and PT I administered on myself with the help of google.
But, I think I made it through and am back on track for the Bryce 100 mile endurance run on June 17. 3 1/2 weeks away.

Nervous? Absolutely.
Excited? Very.

I finally ran a double digit, all be it the first double digit- 10, miles on Saturday. An unexpected cold rain and the company of a friend was both good for training and the soul. Confidence that I can make it to the start line in Southern Utah blossomed from that rainy May Saturday.
I have been working out every and all other ways I can over the last month and will continue to do so, as I attempt to train smart and strong for 2 more weeks. Going into Bryce with a week of taper; not my usual plan, but we roll with the punches..or the ankle for poetic effect.

So here's my before BRYCE 100 post- with 3 weeks away, I've got lotttts of shit to do.
Betsy asked me Saturday, where are you going to sleep Thursday night? 
What are you going to eat during the race? 
What's the weather going to be like? 
Can we have a car at the 50mi turnaround?

 (Betsy and Nancy my friends, crew, and pacers for this one) I HAD NO ANSWERS.
This is unlike me, as I usually am studying up on all this kinda info and plans. But I have been 110% focused on healing inside and out. And, for now, I GET TO go run.

So, wish me luck, YOU;)

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Monday, April 25, 2016

R & R & Re-charge.

It's so easy to feel defeated or sorry for yourself when your world and unfortunate circumstances leaves you feeling like the "why me?" victim. It's very easy to dilute those in a cocktail with your ankle in a bucket of ice-
Ahh, so, there it is, there it  always is. injury. "why me"? Why is it always me?

I ran a free locally organized trail  marathon a week or so ago.  6,250 feet of climbing. A month before, I ran 50 miles out at Antelope Island, a disaster of a race due to stomach issues that I have spent the last month fixing. Found out I'm lactose intolerant, have had a horrific bacteria for who knows how long, as it led to an ulcer at the base of my esophagus. Im happy as shit that I figured out why I was puking blood and stomach lining at every race besides Wasatch in the last year, and then boom- ankle pain. Bad ankle pain- or fibula pain where it meets the ankle to be more specific. Bone pain in the lower extremities is a big old nightmarish red flag to Stop. And Stop Now, like 5 min ago Now. 

Driving back from car pool line this morning, I turned up the music as I always do. Loud like a teenager to re-live a brief moment of solitude and defiance.  ..."ya know the one thing you're fighting to hold, will be the one thing you have to let go..."

heavy footed I drove faster to the 7-11 to pick up a bag of ice and a coffee with NON -DAIRY powder creamer, yuck- but i'm done mourning cheese and cream- it's not a death sentence, just a change.
-However, here I am falling into "why me?" Well, fuck that. Shit happens to everyone, everyone has their problems, and that's life. By the time I was back in my car with ice for my ankle and shitty coffee for my soul, I had changed my perspective:

It's a set-back. A temporary time to rest. And, I'm going to squeeze every drop of the good out of this pain that I can. I have run 3 races since February, I have  been through the ringer with my tummy, I think I have run all winter smart and strong. Ive gotta look at this as a rest to rejuvenate my bones, my muscles, my love of the training and warm mornings that are on the horizon. I have some big things planned in the near future, and if I play the fiddle of my body correct, I will be able to run these things and enjoy them. Minimal training for ultras has been my process since last years sidelined winter. 12 weeks..maybe more, maybe less...I can't remember exactly, just that it felt like a really effin' long time.

It's a rest, a break, a time to get healthy for the Grand Canyon in 4 weeks. I've never been, and I get to go see it from rim to rim to rim on foot, with friends. I have been wanting to do this since I learned I was capable of running long distances and for a long time. It's been something I have wanted to do for several years, and  I'm super stoked about it.

It's a re-set, set-back, re-rejuvenate, re-invent training time to get healthy and strong for my third 100 mile race on June 16, the Bryce 100. I'm also super excited about this too! I get giddy thinking about the long full mooned night, followed by a bursting sunrise in the out of this world Southern Utah desert sky. Butterflies dance in my belly imagining the  last 25 miles when the end is in your back pocket and you can see it, every painful step and tear and smile to get to that place, and collapse happy and tired and fulfilled. I have friends coming with me to support me, run with me, do all those things that your running people do for you, because they get it. -And, you will do it for them too.

If all goes well, which I really hope and am confidant it will, I'll end my racing for the year pretty early with the beastliest of the 50k distance. The 10th year of the Speedgoat 50k, for my third time. This race, as everyone knows is a monster. A monster which destroyed me every minute of  12+ hours last year. It's so brutal and relentless that it is the only race, besides the Wasatch100 that has brought me to tears before it even begins. That dance is on July 9. (and I heard there's a chance my friend could possibly make this race even harder this year)

After that, I take another rest- this one planned, not because something hurts.  We will head out of town to see family across the country, ending our summer with a beach week in August. After the MONSTER , It's casual running for me, as my friends will be in the thick of their 100 mile training. Of course, Ill join them on running the courses and long saturdays, but my pressure and race anxiety will be over. Running for fun with friends and fitness and views and laughs and experiences and sanity. So, Im also very excited about September; crewing and pacing the ladies who have picked me up emotionally and physically so many times. First up will be the Wasatch 100, where I will be Betsy's pacer and whatever she needs. 33 miles from brighton to the finish with her, and it will be great and hard.  Then, 2 weeks later, pacing and crewing my partner  and mentor in this dirty world- The Bear100 where I will be Cheryl's pacer and pain in the ass for 25 miles.

So- Im excited. And, Im bummed. But, it will be fine, patience and discipline and intelligence will be imperative the next few weeks, to get me to all these amazingly hard things coming up.

But for today, it's work, ice, kiddos, and shitty coffee.

Friday, April 8, 2016

When I dream of Michelango

I cleared my head as I slept
and yet there's that
face I met.

The one with the spark
the one with the laugh
touched in the dark
delivered from my past.

How are you here?
So close and so far
thousands of days
thousands of scars.

Twisted on the hood of that car
Rain pouring down
moving like tar
I can't hear a sound.

Along came a ghost
and the floor dropped out
sad humming crows
just a dream and years of drought.

They can be so real
these pictures in our heads
I could smell you, your hands I could feel.
Holding on so tight!
But then you melted away,
like a storm at light.
like Utah's snow in May. 
A black and white checkered cover
like a scattered lover
rocks at a window
joy discovered
music, so much music
dancing in trees
these dreams distorted
But I know what it means...
Can I write this?
Can I feel this?
You've been gone so long
dead but alive
here but gone.
dry from the rain
right not wrong.

I woke up and cried
in the middle of the room,
 hands are tied.
I can't find you in bloom.

I'm not allowed to tip the boats
I just teeter at sea
and empty into these notes,
as useless as they can be.

...Saturn on a line
A sun afire on strings and wires
To spin above my head and make it right
But any time you like
You can catch a sight of angel eyes all emptiness and infinite

And I dream of Michelangelo when I'm lying in my bed
I see god upon the ceiling I see angels overhead
And he seems so close as he reaches out his hand
But we are never quite as close as we are led to understand...

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

"man, I aint changed but I know I ain't the same"

Although not compelled to write about the RedHot55k, I am going to anyhow. 
I’ve been in a bit of a limbo rut, dipping into dark and worthless feelings, but bouncing back to happy valley and mountain thankfulness, since December.
I lost my dog. He died in December.  I registered for school only to find out I registered for the wrong class. I DID NOT get into the Wasatch 100, 2016.  I had a fairly shitty run out in the always beautiful southern desert lands of Moab.
I have been reading about introverts, about depression, about hypoglycemic migraines and anxiety. I have been reading about happiness, Colorado, and even Ray Lewis. I have been reading and searching for some kind of answers to questions I can’t formulate or articulate. I continually pull my proverbial boot straps up and try hard to remember the anguish and sadness I was overcome with last year as I dunked my fractured tibia into ice baths daily all winter. –and, then I try to dig deep for gratitude that my legs are working, that my face feels the cold morning air, and my eyes fill with the monthly full moon in predawn hours. I dig deep, I push, I dissect every feeling from brain wave to toe nail, and yet I teeter on balance and can barely spot bliss.
So, perhaps this is not about the Red Hot 55k. Although, that day sort of culminated all the see-saw feelings of the last few months.  I rode pretty high after the Wasatch 100 in September 2015.  It was not feelings of invincibility, it wasn’t acquired speed, nor did it generate grandiose goals. It was peace and fulfillment. It was personal accountability that paid off and sent me soaring above the highest peak, metaphorically.  I had a feeling I would not get drawn for the lottery this year. Perhaps it’s the ever present undeserving notion I have of myself.  I thought; that day, September 12, was too good; there was no way the universe was giving that to me twice. And as I state, this is not a pity party… perhaps it is.  So how do I shake it? I thought a great run in Moab would shake it; chasing that finish line feeling brought me nothing but exhaustion, irritation, and disappointment.   I am consistently inconsistent. The need to link emotional and physical mood continually defines my personal performance.  I really never know how I am going to run from day to day, rested or not.  Training typically brings me hours of peace that I can repeat day after day because I can stop or go at my desire. I can fuel the passion or I can call it a run. The races- the races are a commitment that I HAVE to finish- no matter what.
So, the Red Hot in Moab started out really well. Beautiful day, plenty of gross gels, melodic motivation in my ears- then it stopped going well. I know what happened physically- I should have eaten more. I even know what happened emotionally, but I don’t know why. I just shut it down 5 miles before the finish. I just didn’t want to run anymore. I didn’t want to be exploring the beauty of the landscape by foot anymore. I wanted my dead dog, I wanted my dead mom, I wanted a good race and a good time, I wanted everything that the universe would not give me, and I wasn’t having fun or peace or a good run.
I don’t have a conclusion.  I am in a limbo-ey rut; a blue slope that I am eager to catapult out of.  I have another race in 3 weeks. It’s the first ultra and first trail race I ever ran. It’s  out at the Great Salt Lake; The Buffalo Run, 50 miles. Another go at a finish line high. 

‘Man, I ain’t changed, but I know I ain’t the same”

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Bestest Friends

I began to cry dumping left over scrambled eggs into the garbage this morning. My first instinct is to dump leftover eggs in Buster's bowl. The bowl that is no longer there.

Yesterday I was at the library, I am the parent volunteer for my third graders Battle of the Books group at school.  3 eight year old girls and my 4 year old to boot. My phone rang. The number looked very familiar, one I had called many times before.

"Hi, this is so and so from Willow Creek Pet center"
"oh... hi"
"Buster's remains are here for you to pick up, anytime during regular business hours"
"Ok, thanks"

Deep Breath. Deep Breath. Everything went silent in my head and all I could feel was a memory; the fresh memory of rubbing his soft ear on my chin one last time 3 weeks ago.
"Mom, Mom, Mom"... (yanked back)


....I dropped my girls at home, and went right back out.  I was actively holding in tears and blocking out memories of my sweet old boy peeing in the same spot every visit on the concrete pillar of the pet center.  Lamaze type breathing to hold it together until I got back in my car and let it out.

"I'm here to pick up my dog's remains" I whispered, for fear of letting myself hear it.
(clear throat) Repeat.
"What is the pets name?"
Whisper, squeaking like a mouse "Buster"
(clear throat) Repeat louder. "Buster"

She returned with a gift bag...a gift bag. I hurried to my car, and cupped my face passing the pillar again....His ashes in a redwood box is heavy, but too light. It's his remains, all that remains are the ashes of my 80lb kindest friend in the world.

It's not an uncommon pain. They are better than people. Every dog parent has a story, a connection, a void when their companion of typically many years is gone. The footsteps in the hall, the dog hair fading away, they are gone. My short story with my Buster is this. I adopted him when he was roughly 4 months old. I was fairly new to Utah. He had been adopted previously and returned a week later.  I had to take him home.-And, that's where he stayed, with me for almost 15 years. He loved to run, we had his ACL repaired when he was 8. He ran more. Then he got cancer, we chose to do chemo. We walked a lot. Then he got worse. And, one day he couldn't walk, eat, or drink. And, then he was gone. And, the pain that comes from the finality of a loved one's absence  creeps up on my husband and I sporadically and frequently.

I think the reason that it's just as hard to lose a very well loved pet as it is a human is partly because a well loved pet loves you right back. They are a  constant presence of  peaceful looks and licks and warmth from their bodies as you curl around them nightly, year after year after year. They have personality's, like people, often better than. My Buster was a gentle giant and I may have adopted him and given him a home, but he gave me so much more- simply
love and happiness.

I miss him so much. I know you miss your bestest friend too. Time helps almost everything, but I don't think I'll ever love a dog as much as I did my Buster. He was as special to me as yours is or was to you. I am trying to remember how much nicer he made everyday, and be thankful he was mine, rather than being so sad that he's not here.

Rest in sweet peace all of our lost friends.



No one can really know Everything about you, but

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