December 24, 2015

How long it takes to run 100 miles

From sun up to sun down, that's how long it took me to run Lookout Mountain 50 this weekend. During the race I kept my family updated with pictures like this.

And this. 

These pics said something like, hey family, I'm alive enough to use my fingers to operate a camera and mentally aware enough to switch my phone into airplane mode between aid stations to save battery juice and still crazy enough to be smiling even though my pinky toenail is slowly detaching itself from my left foot with each painful step. 

I was sending texts from stops along the route because I never expected my family to try and meet me at aid stations or follow me around the course. Mostly because they had things to do, like watch Star Wars and swim at the hotel pool. Plus, I want my family to still love my running, and forcing them to stand around and wait three hours by an aid station in the woods to see me for ten seconds isn't the best way to inspire run love. 

But even without being in the middle of the trail action that day, my kidlets took notice of what went down. 

1. That their mom ran so much that she needed all hands on deck for feet and back massages (as long as they did not touch the toenails!). 

2. And that running 50 miles takes All. Day. Long. 

In the spirit of observing things, my son Creed used all of the wisdom he gleaned from Lookout Mountain 50 to calculate how long it's going to take me to run Vermont 100 this summer. 

The accuracy. The emphatic hand. The addition. This kid is my hero. 

December 18, 2015

Lookout Mtn 50 is tomorrow!

Our trail runner book club is reading Into Thin Air this month. First, how have I not read this before now?!! Second, whaaaat? I'm not a climber and have no desire to become one (although a trusted source swears that you can have a fear of heights AND be a climber), but man, this story hit me so hard. Even though I finished it weeks ago, I can't get the people and events out of my mind, and they'll be with me tomorrow as I take on Lookout Mountain 50, here in Chattanooga. 

One of the messages from the book: never stop dreaming.

(see he CAN smile in pictures) Those pins represent some of my top dreams too.

Another favorite part of the book: the descriptions of how it felt on top of Everest. To be there striving for greatness but up against decreasing oxygen, incredible fatigue, and crushing elements. 

No, it's not even close to Everest, but ultras have this element of nothingness at some point. It started out as a great idea, a fun adventure, a spike in adrenaline. But at some point, your body is just on a mission to survive, and you lose the ability to find joy or sorrow. You are just tired. And why do we put ourselves in these situations that push us to that nothingness? I'm not sure, but knowing that you can push through joy, pain, joy, pain, nothingness, and beyond is something. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable -- that is the challenge, tomorrow and in life.

But don't worry, the nothingness isn't all of it. There will be a lot of happy moments tomorrow. And if they don't come to me, I will go out and find them (as long as they are within arm's reach of that trail, and I don't have to move very quickly to get to them).

My drop bags are packed with a variety of things that might appeal to me in the moment:
Honey Stingers
Sport Beans
Hammer Gel -- Apple Cinnamon, the best flavor of all time!
Pocket Fuels
Huma Gel
Tailwind (which will be the base fuel!)
Justin's Nut Butter

And practical stuff like:
Dry socks
Extra buff
Portable phone charger

We did our shakeout walk through downtown Chattanooga.

And my flat trail runner is all laid out.

High of 45 tomorrow and no rain predicted. So basically, it will be a perfect day for running!

Text me if you are bored tomorrow! Your text will probably be the thing that helps me run another mile.