Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Great Expectations

It is now under a week until the start of the North Face Endurance Challenge. In less than 4 days I'll be venturing out into Golden Gate National Recreation area for a short 50 mile jaunt in the woods. Cue: freakout.

Yes, I know I wrote a month ago how eerily calm I was. I also wrote that I would have the pre-race freakout and here it is.

Carissa (my pacer), me, and Denas just Denas prepping for the race!
A large part of freaking out, at least for me, is knowing that there really is nothing else you can do to
prepare for the race except get sleep and avoid injury. Looking at my checklist as long as I pack my running shoes I can stumble into California and figure it out until my foot crosses the finish line. Have more inspiring words ever been written?

My biggest goal for this race is to finish. Coupled with finishing is finishing healthy. I want to prove to myself that I can manage my body and nutrition for 50 miles and live to tell about it. The less time I spend huddled in the fetal position in my bed fighting off fever dreams post race the better. Here's how I'm going to do it:

Eat Smart

I have a huge bag full of Raw Revolution bars. But I know I cannot depend on one item to get me through the race so I am also bringing honey stinger waffles, other energy bars (TBD what is on sale at whole foods), electrolyte chews, various types of gels, sour patch kids, peanut butter cups, salmon jerky, nut thins. I am probably going to stash a tuna packet in my drop bags as well as pickles (duh). I'll also have nuun for my water bottle.

Drink Smart

I have forgone beer since Saturday night and plan to until Friday night. You're not supposed to mess with tradition and I always drink a beer the night before races and this one is no different. Thanks to Kircher, the accidental pedestrian, for instilling this important pre-race strategy in my head oh so long ago. Perhaps most importantly will be drinking smart after the race. Yes I will also drink a beer after the race, but what really killed me last time was failing to hydrate the next 24 hours post race. I am going to make sure I am not just drinking water, but drinking plenty of electrolytes.

The big test will be the Saturday after the race. Jill "drilltime" Fairchild and I are going to run a 5k. Yes, a week after running 50 miles I am going to run a 5k. Seriously though you guys, the shirts they give out for this 5k are so soft and comfortable it's worth it.

Despite what it sounds like, I am still hella nervous for this race. Last Saturday I was skinning up a mountain to ski it and all I could think was: next Saturday I'll be running on dirt in shorts for 50 miles. Mentally my brain is having a really hard time understanding that this race is happening. There's snow on the ground, the trails are covered, it's ski season not running season.

While my primary goal is to finish and finish healthy I do have some other goals for the race. I would like to finish in 13 hours. My last 50 miler took me 13 hours and 41 minutes (ish, I might have been 47 I don't recall). I think I can run it in 13. I'll have the aid of altitude and a kick ass pacing crew to get me there. Running smart will be key, unlike Colorado these trails will be very tempting to run the hell out of right off the bat so starting out at a smart pace will only help me in the long run. I remember Liz's only advice before my first 50; "don't be an asshole on the first hill". Wise words indeed.

As a final note regarding goals and hopes for this race the phrase "Great Expectations" comes to mind. So often we have expectations. Expectations that people will do a certain thing or react a certain way. Expectations that a race will go a certain way. We cannot force a race to be exactly what we want it to be the same way we can't force people to be what we want them to be. You can train, prepare, follow a plan, but in the end you just have to let it happen and take each step as it comes. I read recently; "we cannot remake the world to suit us". I cannot make a race be a certain thing I just have to take what I've done the past 6-7 months and go. Come 5am December 5th I'll be on my way.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Shouting through an open window

As I'm one to do, I was listening to a podcast on a recent run. Due to some glitches with my itunes account and a slow reorganizing of my room I didn't have my normal WWDTM podcast to rely on so I switched to Radiolab for my quick run around Wash Park. Typically Radiolab, This American Life, and Risk are saved for longer runs when I really need the motivation to pound the pavement in my  now familiar neighborhood. It was one of their update podcasts so I assumed it would be shorter, perhaps with not much new material. I was wrong.

The recent podcast "Update: New Normal"from October 19, 2015 looked back at their podcast "Normalcy" from, I believe, 5 or 6 years ago. In the intro story Jad Abumrad brings up an antedote written in the New York Times by Martin Bunzel a philosphy professor. As an 18 year old, Mr. Bunzel over hears something on a plane in 1966 regarding race. He remarks that given the particular time period, 1966, the man who made the comment was in an interesting spot. Had he said it a few years earlier it would have been common place, had he said it a few years later it would have been intolerable. However the time he said it America was on the cusp of change, a grey area. Mr. Bunzel said it was as if the man was "shouting through an open window between worlds".

There are a lot of points in our lives where we feel we are between worlds. When you transition from high school to college, when you transition from college to the "real world", when you get married/divorced, etc. These are pretty big worlds to transition between and are a lot more obvious to chart and see. What's more nuanced are those smaller shifts in the world and in your life. These shifts may take a long time to recognize, if at all. You may be shouting between two worlds and not even realize it.

Spare me the groans for a moment, but the best comparison I can think of is dating. No not Tinder, Tinder is it's own potentially interesting blog post related to running at a later date. What it feels like is that grey area where you have a friend and a great friendship and everythings fine, but there's maybe a possibility for a new type of relationship with that person. You can sense that things will change with this person but you don't know how. Will our story be the next big Hollywood RomCom or will we be a cringe worthy memory? I'm not talking about the actual shift, when that change happens. That's usually a pretty obvious time marker. What I'm talking about are those moments before that shift that actions and reactions (the shouts) that signify what everyone hates: the grey area. An innocent text here, a chance meeting of just the two of you there. A few years prior it may have meant nothing and in a few years after it might mean lot more but for now that "hi (and emoji?)" is a shout through an open window between two worlds.

Harvest Moon 2015 Champs!
I'm feeling that way about ultimate frisbee and running right now. I'm super excited about my upcoming race (and slightly terrified). I also got super excited about ultimate this past season with women's masters and RUA. Now, coming off the high of a big Harvest Moon Championship (Christmas Town!) and the thought of "what am I going to do December 6th?"

My current friendship with ultimate and running has been figuring out how to do both (logistically and physically). I love how things are right now but I can sense a shift coming. We've been making due with some tweaks here and there but it's been working for the most part. A few years ago I thought I made that leap when I quit competitive women's frisbee and started setting my sights on ultra running. And up until this year I would have thought my shout was the Molly Brown end of season party and my "roast" to Lauren Boyle. I snuck in a little line in my poem to her about running and that was it...ultimate and I were more just friends and ultra running and I were going to fall in love.

I've grown a lot as a runner since then. Conquering my first 50 miler was a big piece of that, but so was learning a new way to train and prepare my body for this type of work. I came off this summer healthy and relatively unscathed. I signed up for a 50 miler in December and began setting my sights for 2016 and a possible push for a 100 miler.

I've also grown a lot as an ultimate frisbee player. There was Master's Nationals with Jezebel. A semi-finals appearance was awesome but more exciting were the awesome ladies and the laid back fun of playing ultimate for just that reason; fun with friends. There was MHU league with Shiny Happy People and Part Time Models. There was RUA and regionals. At the end of regionals this year, sitting in a circle with my team, all I could think about was how much fun I had playing and how much more I felt like I grew into myself as a player this year. The timid, always worried about making a mistake women's player got out of my head and the ultimate player started to take control. I felt a passion for a sport that wasn't out of fear of failure for the first time in a long time.  

The interesting part about the New York Times story is that shift, that shout between two worlds, was only really identifiable when that shout reaches the new world and you're in it. I don't know if that new world will be all ultimate or all running or a new hybrid of both or even neither. The ground is shifting beneath my feet.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Dream Weaver

I had my first race dream last night.

Let me back up...

I haven't been neglecting running or training, just neglecting writing about it. I ran the Denver Rock and Roll Marathon without so much as a peep and did an epic training run with Carissa with nothing more than an Instagram post. I've had a lot in my head to write, but it's all just been stuck there. Perhaps that is why I had my first race dream last night, these thoughts have got to escape somehow.

I typically have a race dream either the night before or the night before the night before a big race. The night before type dreams usually involve me sleeping in and missing the start of a race. I occasionally have a random dream running Grandma's marathon way faster than I would run it and suddenly being unable to run near the end of the race and trying to run backwards to break through the molasses surrounding my legs. Both high anxiety dreams that either happen right before a big race or randomly unrelated to the specific race I'm training for.

This dream was different.

The North Face Endurance 50 miler in San Francisco is fast approaching. The race has come up a lot in conversations so it's not a surprise to me that it's on my mind. But my dream last night caught me off guard because I rarely have a dream about a specific race, this far before said race, and without something stressful happening related to the race. Nothing in my dream caused me anxiety. I wasn't rushing because I missed the start, I wasn't mid race with molasses legs. I was in San Francisco, driving on and around the race course, and realizing that I would be running it soon and getting really excited about it.

[there was a slightly less believable part in the dream where we were driving and took a corner too fast and instead of falling into a valley we all leaned uphill and the car somehow righted itself]*

I try not to read too much into dreams because dreams are your minds way of sorting out all the experiences/thoughts from that day. However, this dream did remind me that it's about damn time I write a bit about running or it will start consuming not just my waking hours but my sleeping hours.

The North Face Endurance 50 miler is exactly a month from today. I am averaging 30 - 40 miles a week with some 50ish weeks mixed in. I'm honing in more on the purpose behind the structure of my training program and beginning to get the method to the madness. Plane tickets are purchased and lodging is more or less figured out. Donald Rogelstein has the car rented and all that is really left for me to do now is finish off these next 30 days healthy and strong. Going into this last month I feel the most prepared for a race that I've been in a long time. I feel a lot more prepared than my last 50 miler.

I'm still anticipating the usual "Oh no I slept through the start" dream in a few weeks which is why I have a crew of 4 people to back me up. Until then I'm going to enjoy my physics defying dreams on the trail.

*I do not advise attempting this method IRL, best to just take curves at reasonable speeds.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


One of my favorite Avett Brother's songs is Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of promises. It came to mind over the last two weeks on training runs. Doubt is a sneaky feeling. It never comes out in full force right away, it slowly seeps into your thoughts and waits until you acknowledge it and say the words; "I don't know if I can..." Then it feeds off of anything it can to plant itself firmly in your psyche.

The full force of running another 50 miler hit me as I ran around Cheesman Park two weeks ago. Although the race is a full three months away, as my legs moved at a sluggish pace, I started to doubt if I could take on a 50 miler again and finish. As soon as I let my brain wander towards doubt, the doubt monster started feeding on every fleeting thought that came bustling in: do you have time to train, what about food, what about pacers, what if it rains....what if you can't finish?

What if I can't finish?

What if I don't finish?

I've tried to be realistic about my abilities as a runner. I'm not fast, but I know my pace. What I lack in speed I make up for in knowing I can keep going despite the pain of an empty tank. The thought of not being able to finish something is a thought I ban from my memory. Doubt, like an ex-boyfriend who lives in your brain, needs a wall built around it. It's there you just hope that the wall is tall and sturdy enough to keep it contained. I let myself creep over that wall over the last two weeks and it's been a struggle not letting that doubt climb out.

I can't take back the doubt I had/have about not being able to do this race. I thought it, I can't unthink it, so that's what I have to deal with. A healthy dose of humility is not a bad thing. Fully accepting and embracing the difficulty of a race, event, task is a great motivator to do the work early on to be successful later. There's no 10 week couch to 50 miler program out there. If there was I would be highly skeptical. While the fear of a bad race is a good motivator at time, I felt the doubt start affecting my training runs and I knew I had to do something to turn that around.

First and foremost, I needed to get off the road. Road running isn't bad. I enjoy it from time to time. I indulge in lots of road races and Denver's mostly mild winter means I can run outside a good portion of the year. However, I suspected part of the doubt crept in because I haven't been doing any trail running. Even in Wisconsin I ran on the road. Sure it was around lakes with tall trees shading me, but it was still on pavement. Too much time to think about being too slow. Too much time to think about not running on the terrain the race will be on. Too much time to come up with reasons why I won't be successful.

My friend Tom and I took a Tuesday night and ran out at Apex Park. I was reminded how hard running uphill is when you've been neglecting it, but all that faded away as I darted through the Aspens and powered up the little climbs on Enchanted Forrest to be rewarded with fun rocks and root dodging on the downhills. This past weekend I was up in the Mountains and got to hop on a trail in Summit County and get some altitude training in. Not that I need altitude training for the 50 miler (the highest elevation we get to is 1890ft), but I needed to do something tough and finish it. I needed a success, to triumph over a run, shove any doubt in a sack and toss it aside. It felt good to be out and I needed a reminder why I love trails.

Doubt also reminded me I need to be more proactive about training. I recently took on an additional
contract research job which eats into my nights and even lunch time runs. I can't be quite so loose about when/where I run over the next few months because my "loose" time is limited. That's not a bad thing. It's just a time management thing I haven't had to be quite as strict about the last few months. Happy hours will suffer, but the lack of happy hours now will hopefully translate into Happier Hours on a trail December 5th.

I really wanted to write this post to help ease my mind about the fears I have going forward. Reading old posts I sound pretty darn optimistic about things and felt it was about time I admit that I'm not always 100% confident heading into races and life in general. Truthfully, my mind is not always Taylor Swift songs as I run. I think about why I run, if I'm having fun, if all of this is worth it to me. Right now the answer to the last question is still yes. As long as that is a yes then I'll keep fighting off doubt and lacing up my shoes. I'm still nervous about the race, but I'm excited for  my training leading up to it. I'm so fortunate that I am able to do these crazy feats of athleticism and I'll get to the finish line one day at a time. California, here I come.  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Do or do not, there is no try

Hopefully I"ll be drinking some
Firestone Walker beer post race!
It appears my quiet little Facebook Post wasn't obvious enough. I'm assuming this because I have yet
to receive a call/text from my mom about it which will surely change after this post. Let's cut to the chase, the suspense is killing me....I signed up for another 50 miler! Yep the seed was planted a few weeks ago at Bull and Bush and it germinated on Saturday as I made my first venture out on a trail run post 50k. By Monday I had convinced myself it was a good idea and by Tuesday afternoon I was entering in my credit card info and shirt size. Here are the details:

The North Face Endurance Challenge

Where: Golden Gate National Recreation Area San Francisco, CA
Length: duh..50 miles
Date: December 5, 2015

A couple big things stand out for me regarding this race. First of all, I've never done a long race (or really any race) in the fall. I tend to cram all of my running in to the spring/early summer. Because of that schedule most of my training begins in the fall and ramps up in the early spring. In the past this was largely due to the Ultimate frisbee season and needing to be sprint/frisbee focused May - October. With the series getting pushed earlier each year and my gradual fade away from competitive ultimate the fall is becoming more and more enticing for races. Also the thought of running long distance in September/October sounds so much more refreshing than June/July. I'm not used to logging a lot of miles in the summer and that's about to change quickly. I did a quick draft training plan and looks like it starts for real on Monday!

I'm planning on putting in a bit more effort with longer runs this go around. Especially working on nutrition for longer runs. While I feel successful with my food intake as of late, one good 50k isn't going to make me forget one not so good 50 miler. I really need to test out a lot of different food combos on longer runs and the only way to do that is to...test out a lot of different food combos on longer runs. I've got a couple training races I'm eyeing to help with this; the Black Squirrel Half and/or the Blue Sky Marathon in Fort Collins. I'm also trying to coordinate a 30ish mile run over Kenosha Pass into Breck with my bud Carissa.

Second standout for me is location. In looking at my running history, I've only really run races on trails I'm familiar with. Almost every race I've done I either trained or did a shorter race on the same trails. The two exceptions being Sage Burner 50k and the first time I did Quad Rock. Salida I ran the half prior to the marathon and I ran so much of the North Fork course prior to the 50 miler almost nothing was a surprise. Here I'm not only running on unfamiliar trails, but in a completely different state, at a different elevation, and a course profile much different than the mountains of Colorado.

In addition to a new terrain, I'm out of my comfort zone for support. North Fork was 40 miles outside of Denver. My lovely crew was able to load me in to a car, into a shower, and into bed without having to negotiate much else. California means a hotel or some other sort of lodging and a plane ride (+airport security). Oh yes, and a crew...40 miles is much different than a plane ride away. I checked in with some friends and got enough potential interest that I felt comfortable pulling the trigger and signing up for the race. True, convincing people to come to California in December isn't hard. However, it's not all fun and games since I need people to help support/pace/reassemble body parts at the airport. So if you are thinking it's a vacation, you've got to reevaluate.

All in all this is going to be a challenge and I'm excited for it. I'm excited to tackle another 50 miler and do it on what will be a beautiful course. I've been all talk the last few weeks about races so I'm glad I made the commitment and put a race on the calendar. Do or do not, there is no try.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

You do You

Red, White, and Blue
I'm still alive. I survived the North Fork 50k (what a difference 18 fewer miles makes) and I'm feeling good. I'm eating food, drinking beer, playing frisbee; a true American Success Story.

In all honestly the 32 miles flew by. I felt like aid stations showed up much quicker than anticipated and my smile never really left my face. The 50k portion of the 50 mile course went so much better for me that every step felt exponentially better than a year ago.

I had the usual moments of tiredness, soreness, stomach upsetedness - that's to be expected on long races. I honestly felt like I was better equipped to handle these and let myself feel the feelings and move on. Speaking of feelings; what is it about races that make you feel all the feelings. ALL THE FEELINGS. Especially odd is the overwhelming feeling of my feelings leaking out from my eyes. I'm not sad either. It's more like I feel so much stuff that my body decides to just let some of it leak out through my eyes.

One mantra that I kept on a loop in my head (when it wasn't Taylor Swift) was You Do You. I wanted to keep reminding myself that the race was about me running a good race; not about beating someone up a climb or at an aid station. Nothing reminded me of that more than when I ran into Sandals. I named this guy Sandals because he was wearing sandals. He was also carrying absolutely no water. I get the sandal thing, once Born to Run came out a lot of people jumped on that bandwagon, but no water? Personally I like my shoes and have no interest in barefoot running. I kick a lot of roots and rocks on accident and my toes already hate me from ultimate cleats I don't need to aggravate the situation. Initially I was annoyed that Sandals was ahead of me. But then I thought, who cares. He's doing his thing, I hope he finishes, let me just do me. He did finish, after a wrong turn at some point near the end. I passed him on the last climb and I'm guessing he regretted not having water on this hot, sweltering, course. I did offer him some of mine when I passed him and he refused.

Where's my sponsorship BLL?
I met some amazing people during the race who also helped keep You Do You in my head. In the middle of the race I ran with two lovely ladies named Randy and Claire. It was Claire's first ultra and Randy was a 70+ badass woman who has many ultras to her name. The three of us trudged up the hill on Tramway to the Shingemill Aid Station and joked that there was no way the high today was "low 70's". I ended up losing Claire at the last aid station (more on that later), but I ran with Randy for awhile after she had some hamstring/quad issues. We talked about running and her worry that her husband (an young 76) would try and convince her not to do a back packing trip if she didn't finish this race with a good time. Randy and I hung out at the final aid station for a bit and she took off while I continued to goof around. I caught her in the last mile and we ran into the finish together.

I drank some weird beer. I know, past stomach issues + weird beer = disaster. Quite the opposite. Turns out past stomach issues + Bud Light Lime + tequila shot + weird beer = a really fun and slightly tipsy 3ish miles to the finish. No I wouldn't say that you should make it a habit of running ultra marathons while drinking (or drunk). I only managed about half of that BLL. Ryan did give me a shot of tequila mixed with lime juice which I drank. I also tried some Cucumber/Mint/Kale Sour beer from ODD13 brewing. That do you...I don't think I'll drink it again. Out of everything I consumed that day the only thing I really remember burping is that beer the first mile out of that aid station. Oof... Food wise I made the great decision to start eating a lot early on. Not a lot at one time, but I started taking in calories from the get go. I think that made a big difference for the latter part of the race. I had some nausea around mile 18 - 22 and was able to kick it by the time I got to the Buff Creek Aid station. I think my nausea was due to too much coke. Having a good caloric base for my body to feed on helped tremendously at the end of the race.

Overall I'm really pleased with my race. I was hoping for under 7hrs. I knew I wouldn't make that cut off once I got to the last pass through at the Buff Creek aid station, so I just decided to have fun. I could have pushed it and made it pretty close to 7 hours, instead I hung out with Ryan and his awesome aid station crew for 20ish minutes and finished 7:34. Being in such a different place, mentally and physically, from the year before was the highlight for me. Being able to run the entire last section of the race was awesome and coming into the finish with a lot of cheering people made my day! I can't gush enough about how great this race is, how great of a job Janice does organizing, and how awesome all the volunteers are. They even had pickles at all the aid stations! (Side note, frozen pickles loose their structural integrity).

I'm gearing up for something this fall, not sure what the race will be but I'm shooting for a 50. I think it's about time I take on that beast again.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

NorthFork 50k

It's hard to believe the NorthFork 50k is on Saturday. In years past I would probably be in full on freak out mode right now but leading up to this race I've been eerily calm and confident. When people ask how long a certain race is or how long I went on a training run I always feel like I have to "qualify" it if I'm not doing the longer race or run. How far is your race this weekend "It's just a 50k". yes I realize how silly saying "it's just" sounds when it's a 50k. Perhaps, going back to a previous post, I am still at a point where I have difficulty celebrating myself.

I've been in this position before, a week before a race, but this time I know what to expect for the most part. I know there will be moments of pain, moments of joy, moments of doubt and moments of confidence. I know all the trails, I know all the climbs, I know it gets hot out in the burn area and that there will likely be a thunderstorm at some point in the day. I also know I can finish, all I don't know is how I'll feel getting to the finish.

One of my biggest goals for this race is to conquer the food demons that plagued me a year ago in the 50 miler. While I won't be pushing myself to the same limit as I did then; 50k is still ample opportunity to have some major nutrition disasters and I want to mitigate that as much as I can. I ordered a big box of Raw Revolution bars and am planning on cutting them up like gummies and eating them along the race course. I've already got a few pickles in reserve that I am going to put in my drop bag at the Buffalo Creek aid station (we pass through it twice on for the 50k). Here's what my nutrition plan is looking like:

Stuff to carry while running:

  • raw revolution bars
  • sour patch kids
  • gels (just in case of emergency)
  • honey stinger or GU gummies (whatever is cheapest)
  • nuun
  • salt pills

Stuff to put in my drop bag:

  • sour patch kids
  • pickles
  • protein (either hummus or tempeh wrapped in a cabbage leaf)
  • nuun
  • peanut butter cups
  • honey stinger waffles
The aid stations have a lot of other items to supplement what I'm carrying (chips, M&Ms, sandwiches, ice, etc). I decided against doing the enduralite powder I used last year. That did not sit well with me and I haven't been training with it. I have been using nuun (both running and ultimate) and it's felt really good tummy wise. I learned my lesson with the pickle shortage last year and I'm sure they will taste awesome at mile 24.3. 

The weather is shaping up to be nice. Highs in the 70s, chance of an afternoon thunderstorm, but not to bad. I'm sure it will still feel hot but 70s is a lot better than 90s, especially when there's shade!

Other than nutrition, I do have a time goal for this race. My first 50k, Sageburner, was a tough one. I came in at 7 hours and 15 mine. I think I can get under 7 hours this go around. I have to figure out what that means splitwise during aid stations, but I think I can do it. I've run these trails so many times and I've got some good hard trail runs under my belt leading up to this. My achilles is feeling ready so all that's left is to lace up the shoes and go. 

I know some people (cough cough) are worried about me. My 50 mile experience does not inspire a lot of confidence. The Vegas odds might be in favor of me exploding on Saturday. To rest my critics, and the voices in my head, I feel a lot better prepared this time around. Not just because it's not 50 miles, 50k is not something to take lightly, I feel like I learned a lot from last year and have put in a lot of time figuring out how to run smarter and how to take care of my body better. There will be tough points, pain, discomfort, uneasiness. But that's all part of ultra running. I already requested a beer from Ryan at his aid station and hope to drink more than 1/4 of it! All that aside, I am going to listen to my body, make sure I'm eating, drinking, electrolyting and hopefully that translates in to a good race and a good week after the race. LFG  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

To the fella over there with the hella good hair...

Quad Rock 2015 in the books. And to answer Jessi and anyone else who's asked recently what I think about when I run; I apparently think about Taylor Swift songs on repeat in my head.

What a difference a month makes! Despite the race starting at 5:30am the heat was already a factor early on in the race. Great training for North Fork, but oof, I'm not used to such high heat for this race. I swear the "shady" areas I remember from last year turned out not so shady this time around. How I missed May and it's cloud cover. Again, I did not envy the 50 milers I saw slogging their way back up the course, except for Ryan, he strolls along chatty and happy as always as if he didn't have another 20 miles to run.

First and foremost, I finished. Albeit not as pretty as I would have liked. No, no stitches this year. I had a couple "oh shit" almost falls but managed to save it before body connected to rock (I did sort of bounce off a tree at one point, much to the amusement of the person behind me). My achilles held up for most of the race but had a temper tantrum about 2 miles shy of the finish. I rolled in, sneaking by the Catt cheer squad, but sort of awkwardly running trying not to put any weight/pressure on the ball of my foot. Yes I know, not running and resting would have been better. Despite that I do feel 100% ready for the North Fork 50k, I don't think I'd have that feeling if it wasn't for this race.

I'm really happy with my uphill work. I focused a lot on strong uphill running/walking and kept really great form for most of the race. This is probably the first time I've run Quad Rock not hating myself halfway through one of the big climbs. I actually felt strong after each climb. I ran the first down hill pretty hard and then committed to taking it a bit slower for the rest to make sure I wasn't killing my body. All in all it was a really great race. I'm not happy about my achilles, but "thems are the shakes" as they say and all I can do is ice and rest as I get ready for North Fork.

Catt and I relaxing in Jessi Witt's
back yard post race with
Lory State Park in the background.
Catt really killed it this race. We had a great discussion about nutrition and bonking. I was skeptical about his fueling for the race. He's decided to eat V's (his 16 month old son) mushed up baby food pouches. To his credit they sounded sort of delicious and savory, none of the sickly sweet Gu combinations. My concern for him was the three pouches combined only had about 180 calories total (versus one of my bars that had 180 on its own). He did supplement with Vfuel gel which didn't make his stomach feel good but probably helped give him the calories he needed.

I want to acknowledge again why I choose to run despite being injured. In running, and ultra running, there's a fine line between pushing your body past being comfortable and doing serious damage. I wholeheartedly admit that runners often get this wrong. We are usually the first to tell someone else to rest and rehab and the last to actually do it for ourselves. Becca Hall (an amazing runner and winner for the Bucket Hat division at Quad Rock) posted a great article recently from outdoor magazine called Running on Empty. It looks at a condition called Over Training Syndrome (OTS). It has made me think more about the choices I make running, when to run, when to rest, etc. I am proud of myself that despite my stubbornness, I did not put on cleats and play frisbee Monday or Tuesday. It is really hard to take time off when all you want to do is train more and get better, but it's a lot better in the long run and I know this. I choose to run Quad Rock because I knew that not running it would have resulted in me making worse decisions the next two weeks feeling like I needed to get ready for North Fork. The lesser of two evils I suppose.

Final Results: 6:08:39, 127/197 and 39 overall for women. They only had 3.2 beer at the finish so Catt and I hydrated with that and then got real beer on the way home.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Achilles Heel (Quad Rock Take Two)

Achilles heel is a deadly weakness in spite of overall strength. I'm not the fastest runner, but I'm very determined. Sometimes my determination gets in the way of good judgment. Read on...

So if you've been anxiously awaiting a recap of Quad Rock you'll have to wait longer. The race was postponed due to the insane amounts of rain we got in Colorado in May. For the integrity of the trails they canceled the race and rescheduled it for June 14th.

As much as I try to be flexible and not worry too much about planning every detail, I really hate when things get out of sync with my plan. When I go on a run I like to know exactly how far I'm going, or at least close to it. When I am planning for a race I want to have most of my big training runs planned out. It's awesome to be able to incorporate a race as a long training run because you get to practice being in "race mode" and you get a fully aided training run. So Quad Rock was perfect, it was just over a month before the North Fork 50k so I could get in a good long training run in race mode.

Well now it's this weekend, just 2 weeks before North Fork. Not ideal for a race, but not too bad for an aided training run. I had already resigned myself to treating it as a training run and not a race. Meaning no time goals, just focusing on time on my feet running trails. It was tough for me to accept this. Every year I've run Quad Rock I've shaved huge amounts off my finish times. It was exciting to think I could continue with this pattern. But alas, that's not in the cards for me so my goal for Quad Rock is to survive without any gashes on my limbs.

To add another little wrench into the plan, because why not, I am also coming in to this race a bit injured. Perhaps the universe is telling me something or maybe I'm just clumsy, but this is the second year I've hurt myself 3 weeks before North Fork playing frisbee. I thought I was doing it right, not playing a tournament, not practicing, just playing good ol'league. It's no one's fault that I got hurt, but if we did want to point fingers I would probably point them at a certain person who shall remain nameless who pump faked instead of throwing it to my wide open cut in the endzone. Long story short I thought I ruined my knee. Flashes of similar movements from teammates that resulted in ACL tears flashed through my mind. Coupled with a sharp crunch feeling with pain in my knee and I thought my summer was over in an instant.

Thankfully my knee, and as far as I know all tendons and ligaments, are intact. After the fear of an ACL tear subsided and I was able to bend and extend my knee without trouble and walk on it the next day without pain. I did however do something to my Achilles tendon. (My googling and talk with a PT friend leads me to believe it's Achilles tendinitis). This is largely a symptom of a nagging injury I've had for awhile so I can't really blame anyone for this. The abrupt cut and plant on my leg just brought it all to head. A smart person would not run this weekend. A certain smart person weighed the pros and cons and decided to run this weekend and she's going to be super careful.

My achilles heel may be my determination to push through things despite the risks. I was determined to play frisbee league even though firsbee is probably the worst thing to do along side distance running. I was determined to keep running long distances throughout May with the constant rain driving me to put in a lot of long pavement miles on shoes that really need to be replaced. And I'm determined to run the North Fork 50k.

Here's why I'm choosing to run this weekend. I am running the North Fork 50k. Unless one of my legs gets chopped off and I don't have time to get a replacement leg I'm running this thing. Right now that's my last big race until the fall and it's the one I've been focused on since I didn't get in to Leadville. I see my choices as the following:

  1. Run Quad Rock, rest/taper the next two weeks, Run North Fork
  2. Skip Quad Rock, rest/taper the next two weeks plus 5 days, Run North Fork
  3. Skip Quad Rock and North Fork and be sad :(
The only real choice is between one and two and here's why I'm choosing option one. For now the pain is manageable and is actually better when I'm moving versus not moving. The thought of not running at all from today to North Fork is just not something I think I can do and feel ok about North Fork. I would much rather get in a long fast "hike" this weekend and then let myself rest a bit over doing nothing at all. I feel like I can do a better, more successful, job at resting if I do Quad Rock. If I don't do Quad Rock I will be tempted to do things like play frisbee and run on pavement which are two things that I should most definitely not do if I want to heal myself.

I know there are a lot of people shaking their heads at me. Just know that I understand the risks and if I were on the other side I would probably be trying to convince this person to just take the rest of the month off and heal. But my achilles heel is my determination(stubborness) and it may lead to my downfall or it may just be an Achilles Heel that will heal.

Injuries aside, it's supposed to be beautiful up in Fort Collins this weekend and it should be a really awesome race! I'm excited to continue working on my nutrition and power walking up hill and am hoping there's a PBR waiting for me at at least one of the aid stations!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Quad Rock 25 2015 Preview

me and a Tiger chilling Quad Rock 2014
It's hard to believe the Quad Rock 25 is just days away. It seems like I was just finishing the Salida Marathon and crossing the finish line at the Platte River Half. In the past trying to cram in all my running pre-ultimate season felt like the norm, but as I take more steps away from competitive ultimate it's hard to get used to having the whole summer and fall to dedicate to running and not just the spring. Quad Rock, my third race, is almost here, yet I feel like running season is just starting.

Going into the race I have a pretty laid back expectation for myself. My training suffered some with the move so my focus is more on finishing the race and feeling healthy and not beating my previous times. While I do feel like my trail running continues to get stronger each season, I did not put in the miles I needed for a fast 25 mile race like the challenges Quad Rock throws at you.

My time last year was 5:37:38. Ultrasingup is predicting my time to be 6:09:03 so my goal is to beat the computer algorithm estimating my time because screw you machines I do what I want.  Other than this arbitrary time goal some other things I'm shooting for in this race are:

Power Walking:

Get better at power walking uphill. This strategy proved to be awesome for me last year and I'm hoping to build on it this time around. Looking forward to my 50k in June and 50 miler this fall the better and faster I can get at walking will only help me keep up a good pace in the later stages of tough/long races.

Get In My Belly:

Nutrition is still at the forefront of my mind. I had a great discussion with a lady at my 50k training run last weekend about stomach issues and why gu can make your stomach hurt and better ways to take care of yourself post race. I am still going to bring some gu for emergency purposes but will continue with a more solid natural food approach for this race. I utilized Raw Revolution during Salida and had good results. Of course I'll also binge eat M&Ms and am pretty sure at least one of the aid stations has PBRs which I am hoping to imbibe. I also really need to remember salt pills!

Fally McTumbleton:

I'm hoping I can get through the race without the possibility of needing stitches! I've actually been doing ok recently staying on my feet so we'll see. My concern right now is shoe choice. My Pearl Izumis are on their last legs. I am in desperate need of new shoes (as evidence by a re-occuring blister on my right arch). I am debating wearing my La Sportivas for this race but I haven't run in them in awhile. I am taking them out tonight for a test.

Outside of those three things: power walking, nutrition, and bodily harm, I am looking forward to having fun. The weather is predicted to be cool and rainy with a chance of thunderstorms. Not great hanging out weather but it may prove to be nice running weather. I'm torn on what to wear right now. I told Catt I was wearing a duct tape dress and given the possibility of rain maybe that's a good idea? Speaking of Catt, the one and only Wilmer Wilson is running the race too which means lots of fun beer drinking and smack talk before and after in Fort Collins!

LFG runners!

Friday, April 24, 2015


Most people who know me know that I don't like change. I like to stay in my comfort zone, where I am happy and where I know what to expect. So, suffice to say, right now I am way out of my comfort zone. I just moved out of my happy little highlands hood to south Broadway. Nothing has made that sink in more than my running schedule. My "running schedule" which has been non existent since the Platte River Half-Marathon.

I have many voices that live in my head. Two of the most vocal lately are the rationalizer and the risk taker. The rationalizer has been shouting ever since the risk taker made us move neighborhoods. The rationalizer says it's ok that I haven't run that much because I'm moving and I have to pack, and unpack, and clean. The risk taker is quietly calling "bullshit". I know the risk taker is right, the real reason I haven't been running as much is because I'm scared. I'm scared for the very silly, but real, reason that I don't have routes figured out near my new place. What if I run down a street without a side walk?! How do I pick the perfect route?! What if I'm only one block away from an amazing run?!

I was spoiled at my old place. I could do a 5, 6, 7.5, 10.5 mile run through quiet neighborhoods and around nice lakes and parks. I knew exactly where I needed to be when the listener limrick challenge came on. Now I have to take 5 years of habit and throw it out the window for something new.

Yes I realize I'm being ridiculous. Especially since I now live within a stones throw from Wash Park. Any given day there are hoards of runners zipping a long the path, a DIRT path! I don't even have to confine myself to mostly pavement. I can run on dirt. But there is something comforting in looking at my training schedule, seeing the number 6, and knowing I can get home from work, throw on stuff, and be out the door. There is no planning, just tie my shows and zip out. Routine is nice, when you have little time to get miles in during the week not having to over think your run eliminates one of the hurdles to getting a run in on days you don't feel like it.

Routine is also the enemy. By worrying about where to run I'm neglecting a real benefit discovering new running routes. It's so easy to get complacent and plateau your training when you are running the same thing every week. I've been running the same thing every week day for 5 years. My body can run on autopilot for 10ish miles in my neighborhood without skipping a beat. Having to expand my routes and look at new paths mean I'm not only challenging my body but also  my brain. I often lament, after races, that I wish I had trained more for this or that. I now have a perfect, although forced by necessity, opportunity to do just that. Mix things up and see if I can see the results in my next races.

On that note a little update on my races.

I did the Platte River Half a few weekends ago. It was a lot of fun! Jill and I ran most of it together which was fun to have someone to chat with during the race. I finished in 1:59 which was my goal (to be under 2 hours).

My next race is Quad Rock coming up May 9th! Just a few weeks away. I'll have a pre-race post up before that, but for now I have to get my butt in gear and get some miles in.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Don't let perfection be the enemy of good - A Salida Recap

First trail race of the season - check!

I was doing some thinking while I was running, I had a good 5:45 to think, and I realized that this was also my first big race since the 50 miler last year. It is hard not to feel a little gooey inside thinking that I was finally back out on a trail doing what I love to do.

Speaking of gooey...the trail was interesting. I have had my fair share of runs on less than ideal conditions and the trails this time did not disappoint. Unfortunately my first thoughts following the race were "darn...15min slower than the last two years that sucks". Fortunately, processing the race with everyone there that weekend I realized that wanting to run a perfect race shouldn't get in the way of all the good that came from this race. Here are my highlights and lowlights:

1. THIS:

Me enjoying some PBR at mile 13.2 with the Absolute Bike Volunteers
This was the best part of the race. You come to this aid stating after running up a road for a really long time, running by this aid station so you can go another 1.5ish miles (half way you have to run around a cone where a guy is standing there watching to make sure everyone runs around the cone) and hit this oasis at 13.2. As I came running down the hill the lady at the turn off shouts "turn here to continue, straight ahead if you need aid....or PBR".  My friend Jill, who was running the half, was really excited that there was a race with PBR at the aid stations. In honor of her I thought, "yes, I am stopping and doing this". I trotted up to the tent, all I had to say was PBR and my new bartender jumped at the task. He filled up a small cup and we enjoyed our drink, snapped a quick pic, and I went burping away.

2. Nutrition

Ok, now the boring stuff. For me, this was super exciting. One of my biggest struggles at the 50miler was food and fuel intake. As you may recall from that recap post my stomach and head had a really frustrating debate about what I could consume without wanting to barf. I decided to try something new for this race, which I had tested a bit on training runs, all solid food. I had gu chomps and honey stinger chews where I agree would be considered "solid", but they have electrolytes and caffine and they fit in my pocket well so they count. I also used Raw Nutrition Bars. I was introduced to these by the folks at Voormi and really liked them. Much tastier than your typical powerbar/luna bar treat. I fueled myself with Raw Bars (one coconut chocolate and one spirulena which turns your spit green) equaling about 500 calories, chomps, and of course M&Ms and potato chips at aid stations. My stomach felt great the whole race, even better, my stomach felt great after the race and I wolfed down an entire meal right afterwards! I may not be able to depend on gels anymore, but I'd like to slowly reincorporate them because they are a great fast fuel. My take away is that I cannot depend on them for my only fuel. I also saved some M&Ms in my pocket to share with Cuz at the end of the race!

3. Finishing Strong

Man the course kicked my butt. I talked to people afterwards and the general consensus was everyone ran about 15min slower than expected. I battled a lot of mud and snow on the back half of the course. I ran conservatively the first half, working on strategically power walking when it made sense. From mile 13.2 to Mile 19.8 there was A LOT of walking. Some of it intentional power walking, but a lot of walking on straights and downhill because it was just so hard to try and run. How I managed to not fall this entire race is a bit of a miracle. I did finish and was able to muster up my energy to hit the town that night with my friend Shelley. About a week post race my muscles feel great. I was even able to play frisbee Monday night.


1. Blisters

Ryan convinced me to wear long socks. The long socks I brought were new and untested. While they provided great shin protection through the knee deep snow, they destroyed my arches. I've never had such bad blisters before (even worse than the post Vegas bad shoe choice blisters).

2. Salt Pills

I forgot salt pills. Considering I usually forget something on race day it wasn't too bad that I only really forgot one thing. However...I really believe salt pills are important for good hydration and I wish I had remembered them, potato chips can only do so much.

Other than those two things this was a great race. I needed a humbling experience to remind myself that I can still finish races even if things don't go perfectly. For my first trail race of the season and my first long race since the 50miler I'm excited for what this season has in store for me.  Next up is a road half marathon mid April and then Quad Rock in May!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Salida Run Through Time Preview

Race season has officially started! Despite the road races I did earlier, I feel like my first trail race of the season marks the start of running season for me.  What better wait to start than one of my favorite marathons: Salida Run Through Time.

Currently the weather is looking awesome. Per the race director there's snow on the course which might stick around this week. I'm ok with that. Snow, mud, ice, rocks to trip on, that's all part of the fun of trail running. It is nice to not have to post-hole, but I can manage a little muck on the shoe. Snow and ice make downhills a challenge which is frustrating. I've become accustomed to running as fast as I can downhill to make up for some slower uphill climbs. The word of warning on the email was "no records will be set" so that sort of sets the tone for my expectations.

My training, as I'm beginning to realize at this point of the season, is minimal but doable. I again didn't get in as many long trail runs as I would like and in all honestly I've been a huge slacker the last few weeks. Largely due to being out of town so much. So it is what it is. I would be lying if I wasn't a little disappointed in myself, but I can't change that in a week so I just need to move forward with the current tools in my toolbox.

My time last year was 5:32. I'm hoping to beat that time. Optimistically I would crush it and get 5hrs, realistically if I run a 5:31:59 I'll be happy and count it as a win. I feel physically stronger than last year. I crushed Quad Rock, but that was with the benefit for several more months of training. That training doesn't carry over to this new year, but I am definitely stronger so I don't think it is unrealistic that if I feel good I can do it. I'm more worried about the fatigue that sets in at mile 18 and if my knee is going to do that weird thing where it hurts a lot from mile 17-20 and then mile 22, and then mile 24...etc.

I am also in a much much better mental space than I was last year. I think I literally made it to Salida and ran the race on fumes in 2014. Said fumes also carried me through a night of drinking and loud closet discussions with Tower. (Yes we literally sat in a closet and had a discussion, I don't really remember why). My brain was all over the place, emotionally I was drained and physically I was unprepared. It's actually pretty amazing that I finished last year in retrospect. Being fueled by stress, WTF am I doing with my life, and pure adrenaline doesn't usually last an entire 26.2 miles. So I'm headed in to this race feeling pretty positive about life in general and pretty pumped to run some trails with some awesome people.

Speaking of awesome people:

I'm extra excited because there's a good crew of newbies joining me. I unintentionally started a mission to convince ultimate frisbee players that trail running and distance running is awesome. I think it's working. There will be an awesome crew running the half marathon and I think they are going to love it! Wait until they see the bounty available at the aid stations: M&Ms for everyone (except for the 2 milers you just get to chill at the finish and drink beers).

It's going to be a great weekend to cap off 4 weeks of traveling every weekend. I get to stay in Colorado, run on trails, drink beer, and be with friends. Woop Woop!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Pride or acknowledging your greatness

It's not always easy having confidence in your abilities and even harder to have pride in them. I get asked pretty often why I run and have some good answers depending on the crowd. What I still have a difficult time with is when people are impressed by what I do. All I do is put one foot in front of the other; I just do it longer than some people and cover a few more miles. In all honestly, this type of attention and praise makes me really self conscious and slightly embarrassed. Being in front of groups is never something I've struggled with when it comes to presenting or giving speeches. When the center of attention is about me specifically it is really hard to put off that same air of confidence.

I don't win races, I don't win my age group (unless it's a 5k in Bentonville Arkansas), and, as with my 50 miler last year, sometimes I just try to get to the end in enough pieces to count.

Catt and I post Quad Rock. I'm wearing one pant leg, one shirt arm, one shoe, and my knee is bleeding...Enough pieces to count says my finisher mug.

Nothing that I do as a runner will show up in my college alumni magazine or get me a running sponsorship. So perhaps it's uncomfortable for me to receive praise when I don't feel like I've done any of the things that warrant it.

We are our own harshest critics and I was reminded of that this past weekend in Vegas. Trouble in Vegas is a low stress, have fun, be silly, drink beer, and get no sleep tournament for the post college teams. It's pretty much the opposite of playing at Nationals, Fright Flight might be the only tournament more opposite than that. So again, this is a tournament that doesn't matter with teammates who put more emphasis on funny groupme posts and eating ground fruit than winning all the games. So it's silly that in one of our games I got down on myself. I dropped two discs in the endzone. Which is uncharacteristic of me. I was so mad at myself. I had to take time on the sideline and throw/catch with a teammate to reset. But my frustration did not go unnoticed by one of my teammates. So now I was in a position on the sideline having to listen to someone tell me, remind me, that I'm a great player and to get out of my head.

Why is it so hard for us to acknowledge our greatness when things go right? Why is it so important for us to acknowledge it when things go wrong?

These knuckleheads won a spikeball set and your hearts!
I feel fortunate for having a new friend/teammate remind me of the bigger picture of my role on the field. It's so important to acknowledge your greatness when things are going horrible in ultimate for two reasons. First: if your opponent sees you down and mentally out of the play that's a big tasty weakness to exploit. Second: if your team sees you down and mentally out they worry about you and not about the right here right now moment of the game. Two drops over the course of two days, 9 games, hundreds of points, cases of beer, is actually pretty good. We won the tournament. Not despite the fact that I dropped two discs, but because I was a fully engaged member of my team. You can't be perfect, but you can be your fabulous self. It's hard to accept praise and harder to do it when you feel like you don't deserve it, but it's so important to acknowledge your greatness and allow others to do the same.

This tournament helped me remember the bigger picture of my role in running and races. A lot of ultra running, especially getting to the finish line, is convincing yourself that you can do it. Convincing your legs, feet, head, arms, stomach, that everything is ok and you just need to keep moving. Unlike ultimate I have no opponent I'm trying to outwit or a team I'm trying to support. I am the opponent and I am the team. I can't let me see a gap to exploit to not keep going. I can't let me see doubt. It's ok for people to be excited, amazed, and impressed by what I do. It's not easy and I work hard to accomplish my goals.

I will still feel uncomfortable being the center of attention and hearing someone tell me how awesome/amazing/crazy it is to run. I come from the land of powder milk biscuits; they help shy people get up and do what needs to be done. But I'm working on being more confident and proud of myself and I can see that only benefiting me in the long run.

Wow you run ultra marathons? Damn right I do, I finish them to, usually in one piece.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Running is just controlled falling

Running and walking is just controlled falling, at least that's what I've been told many times. It makes sense, we propel our body  mass forward only to catch it with our feet, absorbing the shock into our joints only to do it again with the other foot. If you have ever watched the start of a sprint race (think 100 meter dash) you will see the athletes barely catching themselves, driving their knees forward just before they would actually tumble to the ground. It's actually a really cool thing to watch in slow motion. Here's a video I found, look at how far forward they lean into the start!

Sometimes I'm better at the falling than I am the catching myself.

I am not sure if I would say I'm "known" for falling a lot. But a few friends have made the comment once or twice that I do seem to fall a lot when running. I wouldn't say that I fall a lot, but I do fall on occasion. I remember telling my friend Ryan that I was proud when I fell for the first time on a trail run at Salida. I felt like a real trail runner. Many races later I feel less like the graceful video above and more like this:

QWOP just do it, for your country.

If you haven't played this game yet please try it. You will get a great ab workout from laughing.

No I don't fall constantly, but I do fall sometimes. Falling and faltering are just part of the game. Thankfully I haven't fallen and been unable to continue. That's something I can really thank running for showing me. Life can really trip you up and knowing that you can fall, gash your knee, and finish a race is actually a pretty big deal. 

You have to have the courage to put yourself in that position. Yeah, yeah you have to sign up for a race and all that jazz. But it's more than that. You have to take some risks. If you recall from my Quad Rock Re-cap I had a pretty epic fall at the end of the race. I was tearing down this downhill section feeling pretty confident and then ate shit on a rock on the flat section. I didn't think much about it at the time, but I was charging that hill pretty hard and tried to keep that rolling. I can think back to me running even a year ago and I would have been much more tentative and careful on that type of terrain. This time I put myself out there, literally, and went for it. So I fell, I also got up and finished the race faster than I've ever run it before and...didn't shed one tear as the EMS people cleaned out and taped my knee back together. Sometimes you have to take a risk in a race like charging up a steep incline early in the race risking blowing up at mile 18. Sometimes that risk pays off and you kill it. Sometimes you fall, but you finish, you dust yourself off, you feel bad for what happened, but you finish.

So you have to keep going. Falling sucks. It hurts. I fell at a snow shoe race last year and spent 10 minutes trying to untangle myself on the side of the trail after my snowshoes somehow knotted themselves together.  That wasn't physically hurtful, but it did a bit of damage on my ego. But I eventually got up and kept going and finished the race. 

Sometimes I do wish I wouldn't fall so much. But, I'm so glad that I'm the type of person that can put myself out there and risk a fall. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

In 2015 I will...

I'm not really one for making New Year's resolutions. Primarily because why would January 1st be any different than any other day to make a change in your life? There's something symbolic, I suppose, about the "first of the year". It's a bit easier for us to take a moment and think about what we want to do better or how to be a better person. Maybe we get hopeful and ambitious because a lot of people are spending that day in their pj's watching football and you have to do something productive after you've seen that Skeletor car commercial for the 10th time.

Magic 8 Ball will I buy a Honda in 2015? Sources say No

I don't have any New Year's resolutions. I have goals, as I do most years.  Goals for running and life. But an article I recently read, Finding your Life Purpose, made me think about goals and resolutions a bit differently. There are a lot of gems in this article and I encourage you to read the whole piece. I'm going to focus on one piece that stuck out for me, especially as I started looking forward to my race calendar for 2015; what will you give up?

Any resolution you make, or goal you write down means something has to give. There are only 24 hours in a day and assuming you spend some of that sleeping, some of it working, perhaps a bit of it blogging, there are not many hours left for the other stuff. So when you take on a new hobby or want to excel at a current one it's going to take the spot of something else.

So I challenge you not to focus on some abstract resolution for 2015. It's too easy to  just make a list : lose weight, get a better job, find a life partner, buy a house, run 100 miles, etc. If there is something you really want to do better or new, whether you decide January 2015 or October 2015 really think about what it is you're doing, how you're going to do it, and if what you have to give up to accomplish it is worth it.

I made a commitment to myself about 3 years ago that I was going to run a 100mile ultra marathon. I've been working towards that goal ever since. Although sadly I just found out I didn't get into Leadville (I'm woefully behind a posts but will devote one to that rejection at some point). Leading up to that decision I found I really had to think about how doing this would affect me. Not just physically the day of the race, but leading up to and after the race. Running Leadville meant: not playing ultimate frisbee at the club level, missing a wedding of two of my good friends, foregoing a lot of ski weekends to run, foregoing a lot of everything to run, likely not being able to do much after the race for a month or two. I was at a new brewery down town talking with some of my good friends about this goal. That day I had drafted a training plan and doing that really made the whole "running is your life" doctrine sink in. It really is just a shitload of running. I looked at some weeks and did rough calculations of how many hours a week I would be running and in all honesty some weeks equated to a second full time job.

If you are one of those people who like to make new years resolutions go for it. I am 100% behind anyone and everyone striving to be a better person in the upcoming year and if the date 1/1 helps you vocalize it then do it. Just make sure you take that hopeful exuberance and pepper it with some real world allocation of that precious resource called time.

Whether we sign up for a race or get a gym membership writing down that "goal" is just one part of the whole pie. It does take a lot of courage to admit to yourself and your facebook friends that you are going to do something. It takes a lot more boring day to day planning and sacrifice to actually accomplish it.  Just because I didn't get into Leadville my goal is still alive and well. It just means that my training plans have shifted to more 50 milers this year and maybe more happy hours too.

I want to delve more into the concept of choices in a later post, but since January hasn't ended yet I decided to sneak this post in while I can still call it a "new years resolution post".