Holy shit guys! I just ran 50 miles! I'm still in shock. I can't believe it. Yesterday was a HUGE day for me - I have a new race distance and time PR - 50 miles in 11.5 hours. I could have run until 7:00, but once I hit 50, I was done!
The night before, I spent an hour trying to figure out all the essentials I needed to pack - extra clothes, socks, towel, gaiters, water bottle, Garmin, visor, fuel, snacks and drinks. Oh, and my Shewee (google it)- I can't believe I almost forgot that - and you may laugh or get grossed out, but I find it amazing because I despise portapotties! Back to the night before... I chugged a huge thing of Zyco coconut water (my secret mojo juice) and didn't fall asleep until after 11:30. I was a big ball of nerves. I ended up hitting snooze when my alarm buzzed. When I finally got up, I mentally prepared myself to run for 12 hours, possibly all day in the rain. Ugh. I was running late on meeting up with Larry, Helen, and Cealen, but they had already reserved us a spot to set up our tent. It was a wet and dark morning and Dan and his crew had set up glow sticks and Christmas lights to lead us to the base camp. There was a lot of excitement in the air - despite it being a smaller turnout in the race this year and the undesirable weather. All of my MRTT crew were up and at 'em. I wish we could've sat closer to them, but the spot we had was nice - especially for my trips behind the trees to put my Shewee to use! I saw my CREW and Striders folks, and met many others who traveled from other cities to run this ultra. I had a really nice conversation with a couple from Warner Robins, one of them a breast cancer survivor. I'm sad this will be the last one :( I absolutely LOVE this course - a 1.8-mile route with asphalt path, wooded trails, semi-gravel paths, and grass - and there's tree coverage so whether rain or shine, it's still a nice shaded course. Also, this race benefits a great organization, Liam's Land for Lymphatic Malformation. Liam was out there the whole day with us. It was awesome!
Dan asked me to kick off the race with the singing of the National Anthem. I stood behind the runners and began to sing...and then I started thinking about the lyrics and before I knew it, "for the land of the BRAAAAVVVE.....(pause)...ooops!....FREEEEE... and the home of the BRAAAVE!!", happened. Ha! I can't believe I just did that. I'd like to say that it broke the race jitters since everyone helped me chuckle it off and I'm glad at least it was amongst my running family and friends.
I started running with Helen, Larry, and Cealen with the strategy of running 5 min/walk 1 intervals. We were all nervous because we hadn't run this long - EVER. It rained on us early on, but then held off for the rest of the day. It was an overcast day so not much of chasing the sun at all. The temp was great!
After several miles, my crew decided to adjust their strategy to best suit their needs and I kept on with the 5/1 intervals. I was feeling strong. Damien came out to support us and ran a few laps with me. I was glad for the company. Afterwards, I ran by myself for the majority of the race. I embraced my alone time. It was peaceful and I did a lot of thinking. I talked to my mom and I think she was a big motivator for me. Any rustling of the leaves or a cool breeze to me were signs from my mom letting me know she was there for me and that I could achieve it if I set my mind to it. A few days before the race, Matthew, threw out the idea of running 50 miles. I told him I didn't want to announce it because I was scared of not meeting the goal. He encouraged me to go for it. I was unsure. I felt so good once I hit 30 miles, I thought maybe 50 was a possibility! So I started aiming for it! At mile 39, I asked Tony and Bren if they thought I could get 50 and they cheered me on! I was in game mode!
The volunteers were extremely helpful in making sure we needed hydration, fuel, and even company on the course. Thanks so much to Emily, Lisa, Takis, Victoria, Tony, Molly, Stacy, Dan, Jenny, Wesley, Gregg, and Mary Jo (sorry if I'm forgetting anyone) and all the others who offered encouragement, as well as making sure we were taken care of. It was much appreciated! Their encouragement at the start/finish line always put a smile on my face.
Towards the end, Bren screamed my name as I was making my way for another lap to let me know that I'd hit 50 in this next lap. I was so excited! I forgot all the fatigue in my legs and started jumping up in the air in excitement. I finished my last lap with Pam D. and chatted the entire time. It was nice. Once I crossed the line, I let the guys at the table know that #1206 was done. I had completed 50 miles - something I had once thought was absurd and impossible. This goes to show how much you can achieve if, and once, you put your mind to it. I will always remember everyone's excitement, along with mine, in achieving this goal! Thank you all!
Today I'm sore, but it feels so damn good!
When Life Comes to a Screeching Halt
It's been quite some time since I've posted a race recap due to tragedy and the whirlwind that becomes your life when dealing with grief. I don't exaggerate when I say this. My life came to a screeching halt in March. My mom passed away on March 16th. I will never ever be able to erase that memory of her lying lifeless in that bright white room, tubes in her mouth and nose, the constant beeping of all the machines around her, the nurses coming in and out of the room giving us pitiful glances, and my family and I crying into each other's shoulders and consoling one another. I'll never forget that night where I was alone with my mom, slept next to her with her hand in mine, balling my eyes out, and trying to picture myself with no longer having a mom to take care of me, love me, fix me soup when I was sick, help bail me out when I needed any kind of help - all the things that a mom does for her children. It sucked. It still sucks. I miss her everyday and it reduces me to tears every time I think about it. I find myself crying now as I type.
I was in Virginia when I got the news that my mom was admitted to the hospital. I had traveled up there with the kids to visit my cousins, explore the museums and monuments, and to also run the Rock n' Roll D.C. half as part of my 3-pack Tour Pass. I had just picked up my race packet earlier that day and was preparing my gear for race morning when I got the phone call. I slept for a few hours and left early morning to head home. No one told me how bad it was because they wanted me to drive home safely with the kids. I drove straight to the hospital and entered the lobby to see all my family gathered in somber silence - all of them with puffy eyes. I knew it wasn't good and it wasn't. She was dying from septic shock and was in a coma. I stayed with her the night before she passed, kissing her forehead, holding her hand, and telling her over and over how much I love her. I know she heard me.
My life ended too...or it felt like it. It felt like I was in a haze for days, weeks. I couldn't operate like this. I went out for a run. It hurt. I hated it. I was tired, dehydrated. I went out for a run again. It sucked. I cried. I went out for a run again. It was better. I unleashed my pain on the pavement, exhaling grief and inhaling relief. I started running with CREW and Striders again, started making conversations while running again, and I started to smile again. This was truly therapy for me. Running with friends helped me get through the pain.
It's now September - half a year ago since my life was thrown upside down. I'm doing better. I still have my moments where I'm a hot mess, but I've gotten back in the running game and it's helped me get through my grief. So today I thought that I'd come back and recap my running experiences so that one day I can look back to see all I've accomplished. So, briefly, here we go:
I left off with the Shamrock Run on March 7th (see last post). The next day, my parents helped me throw mine and Michael's 15th wedding anniversary at their house. It was amazing. My mom made her signature egg rolls (which everyone devoured) and my dad had an array of fresh seafood to feed the masses - lowcountry boil, oysters, blue crabs. It was a great night and I'm glad my mom was able to participate in that one last shindig before she passed on. It was a late night for me and I had drank a few beers too many. I don't know what I was thinking since I was running the Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon the next day.
Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon (3/9/2014) - Since I had a late night with a few beers, I took it easy on this run. No PR and ended up at 2:05:30. Had a great time running with my TNT crew. Most memorable part of this run was our buddy Chris V. proposing to his girlfriend, Raye. It was awesome to witness.
Cooper River Bridge Run 10K (4/5/2014) - We drove up to Charleston and stayed with my cousins. Rich, Michael, and I ran, along with my friends, Larry and Wesley. This is one of my favorite runs. Charleston is really lovely and this race is always fun and the after-party is always loaded with free food and drinks! Definitely one of the perks of running it. Michael is starting to run with me now and he's doing great! We finished this one in 1:00:01 and rewarded ourselves with a bratwurst, chia pods, beer, and mimosas!
Crimestoppers Azalea Run 15K (5/3/2014) - I ran this one with Larry and Michael and came in at 1:24:46. I ended up placing 3rd in my age group on this one. I wasn't expecting anything so I left the race early. Jacy sent me a text to let me know. I was pretty excited!
Color Run 5K (5/17/2014) - I ran this one with Michael, Crystal, Will, and Kathy. It's not everyday that these guys participate in a race so when they asked if I'd run, I totally jumped on board. I was excited that Crystal, Will, and Kathy were interested in doing the 5K. We had a great time taking tons of pictures and throwing dyed corn starch at each other for the perfect picture!
Savannah Mile (5/24/2014) - Michael and I ran this one. He ran with his SWAT team in his gear with an additional 40 lbs to run in the Heroes heat and I ran with my age group. Talk about intimidating! One mile - all out. I could see the finish arch from the start line and this was the first time I was really nervous about a race. The goal is to go all out and give it all you got. I started off way too fast. My arms felt like lead and I thought my lungs were going to burst. I ran a mile at 6:53 - definitely a new PR!
Watermelon Crawl (7/4/2014) - Every year, Fleet Feet puts on a group fun run on the 4th of July. It's a hot one, but the best part is the cool, refreshing watermelon you get at the finish. I ran with Larry and met up with JinHi and Mark. She's superwoman!
XC Kickoff Classic (8/23/2014) - I placed 2nd in my age group and also have a new PR at 24:38! I'm starting to get more and more competitive on these runs!
Run for Jane 10K (8/30/2014) - Michael and I both placed in our age groups. I came in 2nd place with a time of 54:34 and Michael placed 3rd in his. This was 2 weekends in a row where I placed in my age group. This was not a fun one for me. Once again, I struggled halfway through the race. I started off way too fast and it was extremely hot and humid. I stopped twice to walk. Running through the finish line was the highlight of this one! I was ready for it to be over because I was hurting!
Peachtree City Divas Half Marathon (9/6/2014) - I ran this at 1:59:26 - a new PR! I went up with my MRTT girls - Megan, Katie, and Jacy and met up with Kim and Gail. This was a HUGE MRTT reunion bringing all the chapters together. This trip was so much fun! The course was so beautiful and shaded. I enjoyed every mile and took in all the scenery. This was the first time I ever wore a tutu to run in, but if I was going to wear one, this race would be the one. There's even a station before the finish where volunteers give you a hot pink feather boa and a tiara so you can have for the finish line - where shirtless firemen hand you your medals. And they hand out glasses of champagne! Score! We probably had the most fun taking pictures with cardboard Bret Michaels :)
Tunnels to Towers 5K (9/13/2014) - What an emotional race! Seeing all the firefighters in full gear running and the kids lining Whitaker Street wearing tributes to the fallen firefighters of 9/11 - it was so touching. I ran this with Larry and Michael. And when I say ran - I say it really loosely. I probably walked more than anything and took the time to high 5 all the kids on Whitaker Street and to just take in everything. Racing was definitely not on my mind at all. We incorporated the run into our long CREW training run.
So that's all the races that I've participated in since March where I last left off. The next one is this coming weekend where I run my first 12-hour ultra - Chase the Sun! Wish me luck!!
If you look up the idiom "on-the-run", it means to constantly travel or moving from place to place. Welcome to my life! I get asked the question - "Do you ever sleep?" at least once a week. The truth is - I am always on the run. My weeks are filled with work, training runs, dropping kids off to school and extra curricular activities, traveling out-of-town for races and soccer games, theatre rehearsals, civic duties - you name it. In addition to being an avid runner, I'm a happily married wife, mother of two, an actress, singer, a Fleet Feet CREW coach, and work full time as the Marketing Manager for Thomas & Hutton Engineering Co. I love being on the run!