Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Well, I find myself with 2 1/2 days until my 4th 100 miler and the usual sense of peace and anticipation has set in.  Don't get me wrong - I am still filled with jitters and self doubt when I get tangled up in the details of the race, but an overall sense of divine purpose and inevitability has arrived.

Authors note:  For those of you offended by any expression of Faith, 
you might want to stop reading now.
  Should you choose to continue reading and proceed to get your 
panties in a knot, it's not my problem.

Quick background for those of you who aren't familiar with the race I am speaking of...  Friday at noon, I will be starting the Thunder Rock 100 miler in the Cherokee National Forest outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee.  It is a point to point 100 miler, meaning there are no loops and we won't be seeing the same section of the trail twice.  There is 17,000 feet of elevation gain over the 100 miles, and a river crossing at mile 81 just to keep it interesting.

Since this race was first presented to me by Jeff Beck, RD of the Forge Race Series, I have felt drawn to it.  Nevermind that when I first agreed to do it I had no idea the challenge I was in for (still don't - guess I will find out soon enough).  I was honored to be asked to be a part of the Forge Race Team alongside Ed Melancon and AD Marshall - two incredible ultra runners, and since I rarely pass up an opportunity that I am given, I jumped on board.

Once I began to understand what would be required of me just to finish this race under the cutoff time of 30 hours, I knew I would need a badass pacer.  Enter Lane Gremillion.  He is one of the toughest dudes I know, and has agreed to pace me for the last 51 miles of the race.  So with that in place, and the training behind me, I am gathering my race gear and essentials and preparing to hit the road early Thursday.  Randy has graciously agreed to drive us there and crew for us during the race - Thank Goodness!!  I am very happy that he will be there to pick up the pieces when we are done.

I have spent the last couple of days wrapping my brain around what I am about to experience.  Here is what I know:

  • I have no idea what to expect from this course as I have never done anything like this before.
  • I know that this entire race will be prayer/meditation time, offering up my suffering for others along the way.
  • I know that God brought me to this place in my life, and there is a lesson to be learned (probably many lessons)
  • I know that barring missing a cutoff or being pulled from the course for medical reasons, I will finish the task put before me.
  • I know that I have countless people back home cheering for me and sending me their prayers and positive energy to make it through the tough spots.
What more could a girl ask for ?  :)  

Whatever deep insights are gained along the course, I hope I can remember them for my race report.  That will probably be a week or more after the race.  A race report immediately following would be comprised of one word.  "Ouch"

See you guys in 100 miles or so.  I know, I know - you don't even like to drive that far.  :)

Happy Running Y'all


Monday, February 10, 2014

Something scary...

How do these things happen?  After my 100 miler at Rocky last year, I decided that since I had met my goal (sub 24), I would take a break from 100's, and only run races that I could finish without running through the night in 2014.  Well, that was before I got the message from Jeff Beck, RD Extraordinaire, asking me to be a part of the Forge Racing Team for the first year of the ThunderRock 100 in Tennessee.  You see, one thing you have to understand about me for any of this to make sense is that I NEVER pass up an opportunity to do something cool, and I am not afraid of failure which makes it easier to jump on board when something asinine like this is proposed. Don't get me wrong - I am not a fan of failure.  I actually dislike it very much and work really hard to decrease that possibility, but I am not afraid of it.  I would much rather look back on my life and say, "Well, I tried" rather than "I wonder what would have happened if...".

So, when I got the message from Jeff about TR late last year, it didn't take long for me to say yes.  Did I completely understand the task laid before me?  No.  Did it matter?  No.  What I did know is that I would be part of a team with two outstanding ultra runners, AD Marshall and Ed Melancon, and I was honored to be considered.  I have said it for years - the decision to do the thing is often harder than the actual doing of the thing. Once I make up my mind, the task is complete.  The rest is just details.

Then, last month, the race director (RD) of TR put up the elevation profile:

Yeah,  I'm not going to lie.  This made me laugh out loud for an entire day.  See, THIS is what happens when you jump at an opportunity.  You get presented with a beautiful challenge that you may not have accepted had you known all of the details.  I love my life, folks, and I do not believe in accidents.

So, with Rocky Raccoon 50 miler behind me (race report to come), I am officially in training mode for this bad boy.  I have an A-List pacer, Lane Gremillion, who has agreed to get me to the finish line, and I am very excited to meet this challenge head on.  How bad can it be?  I just have to get through the low spot that is named after Copperhead snakes because there are bunches of them there and get across the river at mile 81 that is "chest to neck deep", then it will be an easy 4 mile vertical climb then a gradual descent to the finish line.  Yep. Still makes me laugh.  Stupid makes for GREAT stories.

Happy Running Y'all!