Wisdom From the Airplane…….

As I sit in this airplane realizing what I am about to go do this weekend I am in awe in the opportunities that God has presented to me. Last weekend I ran an ultra Ragnar, completing close to 40 miles in a 36 hour time frame.   For me that is a lot of miles, and was definitely hard on my body and the lupus.   But yet, here I am, flying to go and run three races.

I have determined my goal in life is to push myself and determine what I am truly capable of. This year has been a pleathora of trials and failures with some successes.   I believe that my DNI on a 50k truly was the most valuable lesson I could learn.   I have never given up or failed at something racing related that I have put my mind to and yet that day, I just couldn’t.   I knew I had to stop and for me making that singular decision to stop and prevent injury was the hardest decision of my life.

The months following that DNI, I learned more about myself than I have learned in my previous three years of racing. I was able to learn that I do have limits, I don’t always pay attention to them but I do have them.

I was able to continue on and go race in Breckenridge.   Breckenridge was a special event for me, because I had been chosen by Spartan to share my story. Imagine that, being chosen from thousands of people in order to share a story. I know its small in comparison to many other stories out there.   However I felt it needed to be done.   I was able to race with some amazing women: Rachel, Chris, Sam, Carrie, Lacey, and Jodie.   This experience racing with other women who had over come so many different obstacles in their life was one of the best races I have ever ran.   We were able to make it through a tough course at elevation and cross that finish line as a team.   For me the most profound moment of the race was helping Rachel, who wasn’t sure she was going to be able to finish the race. We encouraged and pushed her to finish. Seeing her face as we crossed the finish line was worth everything that day.   She had accomplished something she didn’t even think she could have done.   And that my friends is one of the things racing is truly about. No I didn’t get to run the beast course and get the medal I wanted however, that didn’t matter as we crossed the finish line. It didn’t matter one bit. I am so proud of Rachel and what she accomplished on that day.   And honored to be able to be racing with her in September in Snowmass again for Tough Mudder, we may have converted another person to love racing as much as I do.

Following Breckenridge I headed to Utah to finish up my double trifecta. It was a perfect setting to get my double trifecta since last year that is where I got my very first trifecta. Completing a double at that venue was what truly would put a cherry on the top of the racing season.   Last year Utah about killed me.   I hurt, and to explain that is hard for me to put into words. Yes, I am active and able to do a lot of things. However, somedays I just can’t I physically can’t go somedays and for someone like me that is beyond hard to accept. I cried and I struggle through the course last year. It took me close to 8 hours to finish a beast course, 12 miles.   I hurt, I wanted to give up, but I didn’t. I pushed myself through the pain I was experiencing to cross the finish line. And I crossed that finish line and broke into tears. I will never forget the volunteer that gave me a hug, I was covered in mud and crying and she said you need a hug. I will never forget that hug. Fast forward to this year and Utah.

I knew it was going to be a toasty race as the temperatures were slowly climbing from when we started racing.   I raced Utah with a good friend of mine, Heather.   We maintained a steady pace.   And surprisingly after the first hill climb that probably took me eternity last year, I powered through it like it was nothing without stopping. I was stopping every few feet last year.   That hill at the very beginning of the race was an accomplishment.   We continued the race and I didn’t hurt. I had a good day.   We finished that course in a little over two hours, granted this year was a super, however, that was still a significant difference in what the time was the previous year.   I was proud to cross the finish line this year. I was happy to be getting my medal and my second trifecta, with a smile on face and not in pain.

After Utah, I did what I usually don’t do I took a break. Something I never do to be honest. But it was time and I needed that break in order to be able to finish out the race season. The month off I stayed busy working out but didn’t race or do much more than that. My body appreciated the fact that I gave myself a break, I learned that it is good to take a break every once in awhile.

First weekend in August, I thought it would be a great idea to sign up for a Ragnar Ultra.   You know going out and running close to 40 miles in a weekend. That is something I have never done. I think the max amount of miles I was able to complete was 20 or so. So double what I have ever done. This was going to be a challenge.   As I mentioned previously, I love racing but sometimes my body does not. As I started my very first leg, I realized the body was not happy with what I was doing, mental or whatever it may be, I was hurting.   And I knew it was going to be a really long 40 miles at this pace. I didn’t want my team to know I was hurting and was trying to hide the limp I knew I had because my right hip hurt so damn much.   I think I did a decent job of pretending like I was ok, but that’s up for my teammates to decide. I continued on. I cried because I knew in the middle of the night, it be exhaustion or the realization, that I was going slow and hurting the team on time.   I felt terrible for not bringing my A game and being sub par in the running world. I am my hardest critic I am aware of this, and I think this race was one of those that made me realize how hard I really am on myself. It happens. I got down to my last 10 mile leg, I let my team know that I was going to be slower than a turtle trudging through peanut butter with a horse on its back.   A fellow teammate, Jeff, stepped up to run the leg with me. You se he had already ran 38 miles, but was willing to make sure I finished and ran the last miles with me. Ran is a very lose term. I started being able to run, but every time I ran my leg went numb. My hip hurt so bad. It was excruciating. So decided power hiking was probably the way to go.   So power hiked we did the rest of the miles. I ran the last little bit, I honestly don’t know how far I was able to run, but knew the pain was sitting there screaming at me for pushing myself for the last little bit. With the help and encouragement of Jeff I finished that last ten miles. There is one photo that captures truly how I felt I am basically falling over giving the slap bracelet to my best friend.   The hug she gave me was another thing that I will never forget. As a team we may not have been the fastest.   We didn’t win. However, as a team we had a blast and finished. And to me that matters more than any first place finish.

And here I sit today, on a plane, going to race another weekend.   I have so many thoughts running through my head as to how crazy I really am to be traveling to go run three races in a weekend. Who am I kidding, I have been doing this all summer.   This was my summer. However I think this one is a little bit different.   I never thought after completing my first trifecta last summer, that I would ever do it again. I would never go out and push myself like that again. I had figured I was done. However, this weekend will be trifecta number three.   Three!! I realize that I am not going to win, hell I am never going to win a race or be on a podium. And that I am ok with! I am out there to run for my little buddies Noah, Jman, and Letty. And race for lupus awareness.   We need to find a cure, or medicines that aren’t so harsh on the human body.   A solution to diseases like lupus that are killing people every day.   That making people not able to get out of bed in the morning.

I was once there, and will never ever go back. I will not go back to the woman I once was.   I want to prove, and I know I have, that lupus doesn’t have me. But I am not going to stop proving this.   I need to continue proving this until I can no longer do that.

So this weekend, I race.   I will race elite heat for the Sprint…..not sure why in the hell I decided to this.   But I will race, I will take lots of pictures, because let’s be honest its Hawaii. I am not going to be setting any PR’s or striving to beat anything or anyone.

Its real I am almost landed in Hawaii and will be racing, well holy crap.

 


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